Whether you are a first-time home renter or are thinking about changing your current living situation, looking for a house to rent can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are rental houses for every situation and budget, whether you are a young single adult, empty nester or senior. Read on for tips to make your rental process easier!
Determine What You Can Pay
It is generally recommended that you spend no more than 30 percent of your income on housing costs, according to HGTV. Some landlords specify certain income limits — for example, that your annual income be a specific multiple of your monthly rent or that your rent not exceed a certain percentage of your monthly income.
Before you even search for potential rental houses, you need to create a budget and determine where your money is going and what you can afford to pay on monthly rent. You can use a number of different budgeting sites to run these numbers.
In addition to rent, you should also budget for utilities, as well as cable, Internet and other home expenses like parking, storage and coin-operated laundry. Make sure to consider how much you will be spending on moving your belongings to your new home, as well as furniture and decor. Don’t forget special decor like curtains, room dividers, patio furniture and storage accessories.
Brainstorm The Home Features You Really Want
Be specific when you are considering which home features you really want. Go deeper than just the bedroom and bathroom count and determine if there are any other aspects you really want in a rental home. For example, is it important to you that you have a personal patio or deck or at least access to a shared outdoor space? Is it essential that you have a fireplace in the living room to warm you during those cold winters? Do you need a full bathroom with a shower, bathtub, toilet and sink or will either a shower or bathtub be sufficient?
Do you cook on a regular basis? If so, it might be important to you that you have certain kitchen features, like an island, gas stove or specific type of oven or fridge. Do you want a breakfast nook? Consider other types of rooms you might want, like a home office. Make sure that you have a room with plenty of electrical outlets to set up your workstation. Do you want to live on the ground floor of your apartment building? Do you want a building with an elevator? Do you want to live in a house or condo? Would you prefer to live in a house with a backyard or a smaller home with a park across the street? Do you want to live with a roommate in a more expensive neighborhood or live alone in a less pricey area? It is crucial that you consider all of the features you want and the compromises that you are willing to make in order to reach your rental goals.
Map Out Your Day
Once you have determined the features you want in your home, it is time to map out your day. Mapping out your day means that you should look at the geographic locations in your day-to-day schedule and determine where you spend the most time throughout your work. You want your new apartment or house to be as conveniently located as possible, so use listing sites like PropertyGuru Malaysia to search for houses for rent in those areas that you visit on a daily or weekly basis. Most people want to be close to their office, but you should also consider the other places you visit, like restaurants, coffee shops, friends’ houses and apartments and entertainment venues. Which neighborhoods do you tend to travel to most often?
You should also consider the various transportation methods you use, like biking or public transit, and figure out if those transportation methods would differ based on your choice of neighborhood. Think about what you do on the weekends and decide whether you want to live near those restaurants and venues or if it is okay to live elsewhere if it means paying less. If you have a busy work schedule, make sure that the neighborhood you choose has plenty of grocery stores and convenience stores that are open 24-7 or at least during early or late hours when you are available. You should also make sure that at least a third of the listings in the neighborhoods you choose should be within your budget.
Once you have made a list of potential neighborhoods, it is time to test out these various neighborhoods. Spend a day or afternoon in each neighborhood to determine whether you like the vibe of the area, as well as the restaurants, stores and schools nearby. Make sure that the commute to work works for you. If you work from home, ensure that there are plenty of copy shops, co-working spaces and coffee shops with Internet access. You should also investigate whether their sufficient services like grocery stores, churches, hospitals and gyms nearby. Research the crime statistics in that neighborhood to ensure that it is a safe place to live. If there are any safety or security concerns, make sure that you choose a building with a doorman or 24-hour security.
Choose Your Rental Type
Once you have thoroughly researched your new neighborhood, it is time to choose your rental type. For example, would you prefer to live in a high-rise apartment building, a townhouse or a condo? You should take into consideration what you can afford to pay in rent when making this decision. If you want a short-term rental of six months or less, you should look into renting a sublet, which means that you would take on someone else’s lease or rent directly from the homeowner for a short period of time, usually only a few months. Consider the following options when deciding which rental type to use:
- High-Rise Apartment: The good thing about living in an apartment in a high-rise building is that you will be in very close proximity to your neighbors. You will also have maintenance taken care of by a professional management company and your building will likely be close to a number of urban amenities, like grocery stores, restaurants, gyms and concert venues. However, your unit might be smaller than homes in the suburbs and you will most likely pay a premium for parking.
- Townhouse: If you live in a townhouse, you will have much more privacy than in a high-rise apartment and you might have access to a patio or yard. However, you may have less access to a professional management company for maintenance issue, especially if you are subletting the town house directly from the home’s owner.
- Single-Family Home: If you have a few children or pets, a single-family home is probably the best option, because you will get more bedrooms and bathrooms for your money. However, single-family homes are generally more expensive to rent and since they are larger, you will have to pay more for utilities as well. It might also take a long time to address maintenance concerns and you will likely need to address some of those problems on your own.
Deal with The Application and Approval Process
Once you have determined which type of unit to rent, you can tackle the application and approval process. This usually means that you need to go through a background check, as well as negotiate a lease and submit a security deposit as well as first and last month’s rent. You may have to submit other fees as well, especially if you are using a rental agent to locate your apartment.