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Top 5 Things to Consider Before Renting

Finding a rental can be overwhelming. Not only must you choose a new place from the seemingly endless options available, you often have to sign a lease that holds you to your decision for an entire year.

To make the process more manageable, you should gain an understanding of exactly what it is that you are looking for prior to beginning the search. Here are the 5 most important things to consider when looking for a new place:

1- Location, Location, Location
The first and foremost thing to consider when searching for a new place is location. Whether you are looking for a unit in close proximity to specific points of interest or want to live in a certain neighborhood, determine the general area you would like to live.

If you do not have a particular area in mind, examine the surrounding areas, making sure to acquire a good sense of the overall character of each before making your decision. When possible, visit each location to get acquainted with the environment and absorb the overall feel of the neighborhood.

If you do not have the opportunity to get a first-hand picture, do your research. Get the candid opinions of others by talking to friends or reading online discussion boards. Then, take a look at the neighborhood websites, read travel and city guides, or read Wikipedia articles on the areas. Check the crime reports provided by the local police department Finally, utilize all official and government provided information like census data: average age, average income, percent renters, and crime. This last step is often overlooked and can be the difference between finding the place of your dreams and nightmares.

After narrowing down your search to a general area, you must decide where you want to live within that area. Are there particular points of interest you wish to be near, such as a park in which you can jog or walk your dog? Do you want to be within walking distance of work, school, or nightlife? Will you rely on public transportation? Identifying specific points of interest and recognizing the desired surroundings further narrows down your searching area.

2- Rent
The second consideration is the amount you are willing and able to pay each month in rental fees. You must determine your price span and set a maximum amount for the rent. By searching within an established rent range, you ensure that you only look at viable options. Remember, if you are planning on living with others, this range should be established according to the constraints of the lowest maximum.

3- Length of Lease
Determine the length of time you are looking to rent, as many properties require minimum lengths of stay, generally for 6 months to a year. If you want or need a month-to-month rental, your options may be reduced and you should expect slightly higher fees.

4- Building Size
Next, figure out what type of building and unit you are looking for. There are various sizes of rental buildings with differing numbers of units, from single family homes to large apartment buildings. Recognize the positive and negative aspects associated with each type. For example, townhouses boast greater privacy, but often lack many of the amenities provided by apartment buildings. Conversely, apartment buildings generally provide more services, but consist of a community-oriented living situation surrounded by others.

Units also vary greatly with each building, in terms of both square footage and the number of bedrooms available. You must consider whether you are willing to live in a smaller place in a better location or if you want a certain size living area.

5- Amenities
As mentioned above, the size and type of rental buildings greatly affect the range of amenities offered. Because the respective features vary greatly, it is necessary to specify the amenities important to you, distinguishing your wants from your needs. First, determine what necessary features must exist for you to even consider it as an option. These features are your deal-breakers. For example, if you will only move somewhere that allows Fru-Fru (your pet Chihuahua), then non pet friendly is a deal breaker. Once you have identified your requirements, you can categorically rule out all properties that fail to provide for your needs.

Next, create a list of amenities that you would like to have, but could live without if necessary. Remember that just because you admit that you do not need something does not mean that you will be forced to live without it. The point of separating the wants from the needs is to determine what a place absolutely must have in order for you to even consider it. Further sort the desired features according to their varying degree of importance.

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