For some people, buying a home the traditional way isn’t an option. If you fall under this category, it could be for any number of reasons.
Perhaps you’re not ready to put down long-term roots? Or maybe you can’t buy a home because you have bad credit or little credit history?
However, this doesn’t mean you’re destined to live in a small apartment with limited privacy. You can rent a home, or even rent-to-own a home. Yet, to find the right place for you and your family to live, you need to avoid costly home renting mistakes.
We can help you do just that. Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to rent a home you and your family can live in happily.
1. Throwing in the Towel When You Get Denied for a Home Loan
One of the worst mistakes people make is throwing in the towel after being denied a home loan. While we understand that the traditional method of buying a house is the road most often traveled, there are other ways to secure a house.
For example, there are many benefits of rent-to-own houses. You can enter into an arrangement with the seller of the home you want to buy. In this arrangement, you can make monthly rent payments for a predetermined amount of time.
These payments are somewhat higher than what your rent would normally be because the surplus goes toward your downpayment of the house. This gives you time to build up your savings and credit to become eligible to purchase the home. After the lease period ends, you can pursue finalizing the purchase of the home.
2. Not Knowing Your Finances
Common home renting mistakes often revolve around personal finances. When you rent a home, it’s imperative that you know and understand your cash flow.
For example, when renting a home, there are more recurring costs than just the monthly rent payment. For example, you might also have to pay:
- Services (phone, internet, cable)
- HOA fees
- Pet fees
- Renter’s insurance
There might be additional costs in the beginning as well. Most rental agreements include a deposit that must be paid in full to secure the home. The deposit is usually equal to a single month’s rent, but can also be much higher.
Some landlords also charge the first and/or last month’s rent upfront as well.
3. Not Reading Tenant Reviews
When looking at your options for homes, we recommend doing a little research to learn more about the landlord associated with each rental. Visit the landlord’s (or rental company’s) website and social media pages to find tenant reviews.
What do their other tenants think about their services and communication skills? Is the landlord fair, understanding, accommodating, and responsive? Do you see any recurring complaints or tenant issues that make you question the integrity of the landlord?
Your home should be a safe space. If you have an unpredictable, rude, or erratic landlord, it will be hard to feel happy with your current living situation.
4. Not Understanding the Home Rental Agreement
Many home renting mistakes stem from a lack of understanding. You need to read the home rental agreement carefully to make sure you understand all of the rules and policies of the rental. This includes:
- Your tenant rights
- The landlord’s rights
- Your payment responsibilities (utilities, rent checks, due dates, etc.)
- Pet policies
- Decoration and customization restrictions
- Guest restrictions
- Additional roommate policies
- The length of your lease agreement
- The landlord’s ability to raise the rent
- What happens when your lease expires (renewal policies)
- Who handles maintenance and repairs
- And more
If you have any questions regarding rental property maintenance, parking, complaints, or anything else, ask for further clarification. The landlord or rental company should be more than happy to explain each section of their home rental agreement.
5. Being Unprepared to Secure the Rental
One of the most discrediting home renting mistakes is showing up to the lease signing unprepared. During your initial application, the landlord (or their website) will make it plain what you need.
As noted earlier, your rental home costs may include an initial security deposit and first/last month’s rent. Aside from expenses, however, there will be a number of documents you must provide. These typically include:
- A form of identification (including your social security card)
- Vehicle registration and insurance
- Pay stubs or bank account statements
- Rental history
- And more
The landlord will want to verify your credit to ensure they’re working with trustworthy tenants. They also need to make sure you can afford to make your monthly rent payments on time.
6. Not Touring Potential Homes Before Renting
Finally, don’t make the mistake of agreeing to a rental contract site unseen. While pictures, videos, and virtual tours can be helpful, it’s still important to see a rental home in person before signing the agreement.
Interior spaces can appear much larger in pictures. You might also notice other issues while touring the home in person. This might include damages, odors, loud noises coming from the neighbors, and more.
Additionally, an in-person rental home inspection will give you a chance to request repairs or updates from the landlord before you move in. For example, if you notice a cracked window or trim that’s coming off the door frame, you need to say something about it. Essentially, you deserve to rent a home that’s completely move-in ready and the landlord should accommodate those needs.
Once you move into the home, the landlord will provide an inspection sheet where you can notate any damages or issues you find in the first few days of living in the home. That way, you won’t be held financially liable for those damages.
Want to Avoid the Home Renting Mistakes Listed Above?
There are a lot of reasons to rent a home or rent-to-buy a home. If you choose to rent-to-buy, you can secure the perfect home for you and your family, even if your current credit score leaves something to be desired. Just be sure not to make any of these home renting mistakes.
Contact us today to find a listing near you or apply for our rent-to-own program. We would love to help you find your future home.