Renting a home or apartment is both an exciting and overwhelming process; you have hundreds of options in your price range, you may feel like you've seen every vacant apartment under the sun, and you may not even know what you're looking for. The beginning of your apartment hunting may be fun and exciting, but after seeing five to ten properties, apartment hunting feels more like work than finding a cozy and relaxing space to call home. After those few houses, you start to realize it's time to get down to business. Here are a few tips if you're new to the renting process:
Bring a Checklist - You may feel a bit ridiculous walking into a home with a notepad and paper, but it makes a huge difference. Most people will know by the feel of an apartment whether it's right or wrong for them, but others like to be much more diligent. If you have a bigger budget, with more options, you may want to write down which are the most important to you. Even renters with a smaller budget should keep in mind that they do have options, and never feel pressured into renting somewhere they are uncomfortable in.
Find a Buyer's Agent - Not sure which questions to ask? Want someone on your team? Did you know that you can hire a real estate agent to help you locate a rental property? Few renters realize they can actually look for a rental the same way they'd look for a property to purchase. A real estate agent can help you research, locate, and evaluate potential rental matches for you. They can remind you to ask the big questions, like "What are the late fee penalties? What kind of cable and internet service providers can I use? What are your noise and guest restrictions?" as well as the simple ones you can forget about, like "Is there a washer/dryer in the unit? Are there ceiling fans? and does the unit run on gas or electric?"
Read the Lease - We cannot stress this enough as a St. Pete property management company; please read your contract before entering into a lease. Some landlords have been jaded by former tenants and may have hardened on their rules. Some landlords will begin the eviction process after 3 days of missed payment, others may have a "no tolerance" rule for pets. Just make sure you and your landlord are on the same page when it comes to your lease. Is there a way to break your lease? Is there any repercussions if he doesn't take care of broken appliances within a two day period? Make sure you use your lease to protect yourself as a renter. When you don't know what you're signing, you could be writing your rights away.