For many, renting a home can make more financial sense than actually purchasing a home. However, there are financial considerations that need to be made before you actually agree to a rental contract. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the specific variables to consider when looking for your first rental home.
What Does the Rent Include?
In most leases, the rent merely gives you the right to occupy the space for a given period of time. Typically, you will be responsible for paying the cable bill, the heat bill and the trash bill. Therefore, these are expenses to consider when determining if a given home is within your preferred monthly housing budget.
Do You Have to Pay to Maintain the Property?
Some landlords will require that you take care of snow removal or lawn maintenance. This means either buying a lawn mower or paying someone to do the mowing and trimming for you. Snow removal contracts can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 a year depending on where you live. Ideally, you will choose a rental where the landlord covers some or all of those expenses.
How Close Are You to Work and Other Attractions?
If possible, try to live close to work, your child’s school or other places you routinely go. At a minimum, try to live as close to a major highway as possible. This will result in driving fewer miles and putting less wear on your vehicle. That can save you money on gas and maintenance costs throughout the term of the lease.
Make Sure to Get Your Security Deposit Back
It is important that you understand the terms under which your security deposit can be withheld. It is not uncommon for a landlord to withhold a portion of the deposit to be used to clean the home after the lease is over. While this is generally legal, it may be possible to offer to clean the house yourself in exchange for getting the money back.
Pets Will Likely Cost Extra
If you have a cat or dog, your landlord will likely charge a fee when you apply and a monthly fee on top of the base rental rate. Your landlord may also hold back a portion of your security deposit to eliminate any odors or repair any damage that your pets may have caused.
Renting a home can be an affordable way to provide adequate shelter for yourself and your family. However, it is important to read over your lease carefully to understand the charges and fees that may apply in addition to the base rent amount. In many cases, these fees and charges may be negotiable based on your credit score or other factors.