Renting a home can be a daunting process. Arm yourself with as much information as possible as you begin your search so that you can optimize your time and effort and minimize the hassles that are sometimes associated with renting a home. A licensed Realtor can assist you through this process, providing information and guidance every step of the way. Below are some things to consider as you search for your rental home.
The very first step you should take, before even beginning your rental home search, is to become familiar with your credit. If you have not recently done so, you should run your credit report and familiarize yourself with it. Before any landlord or leasing manager will rent you an apartment, he or she will want to know your credit score and you will want to be able to explain any issues that come up on your credit report. If your credit is not great, you may need a co-signer on your lease or you may need to work to raise your credit score before you can rent your dream home.
You may review your score by going online to: www.myfico.com or you may wish to contact the credit reporting agencies directly: Experian: 888.397.3742; Equifax: 800.685.1111; TransUnion: 800.916.8800.
Once you are aware of your credit score and any issues that you may need to deal with regard to your credit report, you are ready to begin searching for your rental home.
There are several aspects of a rental home search, any and all of which can help make your search as effective as possible. A licensed Realtor can assist you with each aspect of your search, saving you time and effort, and making sure your search is targeted toward finding exactly the type of home you are looking for.
Timing: Finding the perfect rental home can be more time consuming than one would think. Give yourself plenty of time to find a home that is right for you. While giving yourself time to find the right home is important, you should be prepared to act quickly when you find your dream home. The rental market can move quickly and you should be prepared to put down a deposit immediately if you find a home that you love.
Search online: Before you start schlepping all over the place to see homes in person, do some initial searching online. You can start to narrow your search so that when you actually start viewing homes, you are only seeing homes that might be a great fit for you. Visit www.mironproperties.com/NJ to begin your online search.
Create a priority list: Figure out the things that are most important to you in your rental home. Keep your list relatively short and make sure to let your Realtor know about these “must haves” up front.
Know your budget: Know before you start searching what you can and want to spend on your rental home. In addition to your monthly rent, you will need to consider the other costs involved in renting a home. These costs may include: (i) up front costs of approximately 3.5 months rent – generally these costs include, 1st month’s rent, 1.5 month’s rent as security deposit and 1 month’s rent to be paid as brokers' fees; (ii) application &/or credit check fees, which can run from $25 to $75 per person, (iii) monthly utility costs, which should be factored in to your monthly budget. When renting an apartment in a building, there may be additional upfront costs, such as move-in fees, fobs (for lobby door &/or garage), car stickers, and move-in security deposit (generally refundable, unless there are damages).
Pets: Advise your Realtor ahead of time if you plan on having a pet live with you in your rental home. Many landlords have pet restrictions on their properties.
A lease is a contract or agreement between a landlord and a tenant for the rental of an apartment or a house. Many leases contain terms including: (i) length of the lease, called the lease term; (ii) the amount of rent due, usually per month. Note when the rent is due each month and whether any late charges will be added if the rent is late; (iii) rules and regulations for living in the apartment or house; (iv) the lease will note which party is responsible for paying water and utility bills as well as who is responsible for taking care of repairs to appliances and other items in the household that might need attention during the lease-term. Often the distinction will be made between damage and normal wear and tear. The lease may also note which party is responsible for lawn maintenance, snow removal, etc.; (v) the landlord’s right of entry in to the home, when, under what circumstances and upon how much notice, if any, the landlord is allowed to enter the rental property and for what purposes; and (vi) other rules and regulations that the landlord wants the tenant to abide by will be noted in the lease. In an apartment complex, the lease may contain the rules regarding the apartment common areas and appliances.
Each lease is different and has terms that are unique to the specific agreement between each landlord and tenant. Before signing a lease, be sure that you have read it carefully and that you understand its contents. Your Realtor will coordinate and oversee all aspects of your transaction, and will work to make sure all of your real estate needs are met!
Good luck and happy home hunting!!!