January 10, 2019

Renting 101: From Listings to Leases

Approximately 63% of renters are satisfied with their rental experience, according to our latest research. So, what's the key to finding the right home? With a multitude of online resources available, a good place to start is by sorting through listings and weeding out homes that don't fit your criteria. Here are a few tips to help you find a property that satisfies your needs.

  • Look at Photos: Focus your attention on listings that have a lot of photos. Listings should have up-to-date shots of the interior and exterior of the home, as well as any amenities. Photos will allow you to compare properties and identify which homes you want to tour in person.
  • Pay Attention to Detail: Avoid listings with vague terms. And be wary of landlords who may get creative with their descriptions to attract more tenants. Ask questions and get visual confirmation about the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage.
  • Research Safety: According to Zillow, 75% of renters cited safety of the building and neighborhood as very important when choosing their next home. Conduct your own research to determine if the home is an area you will feel comfortable living in. When touring the property, check that windows lock and deadbolts work.
  • Consider Amenities: Beyond the basics, you may have specific "must haves" for your rental. When browsing rental listings, look for amenities like in-unit laundry, storage space, and covered parking. Be sure to ask which amenities are included in the lease and which involve additional costs.
  • Prepare for Costs: When negotiating the lease, you should have written confirmation of all costs expected of you. Before signing, confirm:
    • What is the monthly rent?
    • How much is the security deposit?
    • Are there any one-time fees?
    • Who pays for utilities?
  • Review Policies and Procedures: The lease should have all policies and procedures clearly stated, read them carefully. For instance, some units may allow pets, but may have size specifications. Leases should include information on the number of people who can live in a unit, expectations for noise level and occupancy duration. See if the landlord lives on site or if a local company manages the property and ask how repair requests and general upkeep are handled.

Are you planning to rent? For more information on the rental process visit My Home by Freddie Mac®.