From the moment you think about renting a home, start planning.
Landlords and property managers these days may check your credit report as part of the lease application. Therefore a good place to start your renting process is to request a copy of your credit report. Carefully examine it for errors, and clean it up before you talk to your REALTOR. Are you currently renting another property? Check your lease for an early release clause. If you'll be subject to penalties, try to time your next rental move-in date with the expiration of your current lease.
During this planning phase, decide how many bedrooms you will need. Do you need to be nearby work or school? Will you have a room mate? Will you be working from home? Do you want to live in apartment or single family home? How many cars will you have? Will you be purchasing new furniture or will you need to move existing furniture to the rental? The answers to these questions will help you narrow your search, reduce frustration and save you time.
Understand the rental process
Just like homebuyers, renters need to ask questions. Lots of questions. So choose a real estate professional who has experience and is willing to explain the entire renting process -- from viewing homes to negotiating, to signing a lease, to move-in, and eventually move-out -- in detail.
Stay within your budget when searching
What can you do to avoid properties that are out of your price range? Monitor your expenses for a couple of months. Then, based on your findings, develop a budget that truly reflects your lifestyle. Talk to a real estate professional who can provide insight into expenses that you might face such as electricity, water/sewer, trash, internet, and cable tv. Then revise your budget.
Your new rental should give you great pleasure, not hold you hostage. When you relay your price range to a real estate agent, ask to view properties within that range only. By restricting yourself, you'll avoid disappointment later on.
Obtain a sample copy of a draft lease form
Ask your REALTOR for a DRAFT blank form copy of the lease agreement that you will be signing later. Read the document and jot down any questions you might have. Your final lease form may have some additional terms and condtions that may be included after you have made a decision on a property.
During the rental search think with your head, not your heart
Be careful not to stray too far from your rental budget. Look at several rentals that match your requirements that you identified early on. When you view a property, list the positives and the negatives. Make certain your furniture will comfortably fit into the space. Visit the property at different times of the day and evening to see traffic patterns and activity around the property. Imagine yourself in this property, "Will this work for me?". Jot down the points about each property you visit for later review.
Also, think about how long you plan to live in the property. Many landlords require at least a one year lease commitment.
The Offer For Lease
After you have selected your rental, work with your REALTOR to put togther a written offer for lease. The lease offer will include all the conditions under which you will occupy the property. Items such as rent amount, when rent is due, late payment fees, the party responsible for repairs, any house rules, parking, insurance and other information. Put in writing anything that you want the landlord to do to prepare the property for your move-in. Are there any damaged items that need repair. Put that in the lease. There may be times where owner representations may be present during a property showing and 'promise' varoius items will be done before you move in. Reduce those promises to written form as part of your lease offer. Your REALTOR can help with the language.
Let your REALTOR know if you need to include a clause in the lease that allows you to terminate the agreement prior to the expiration. Military tenants and many corporate tenants require these 'early termination' clauses in their leases. If you don't have an early termination clause in your lease and you need to move out prior to termination your landlord could deny your request for early termination and hold you responsible for the full term of the lease.
Go over your lease offer with your REALTOR. Ask any questions you might have. This is a contract afterall.
Finally, submit your offer to the lessor/owner for consideration. Once approved you can start preparing for your move.
You have an accepted lease and it's time for moving preparation. The owner is busy doing all the agreed items to get the rental ready for you. You are preparing, packing and getting ready for the big move. A day or so BEFORE the actual move in you and your REALTOR need to perform an inspection to make sure your rental is ready for you. By this point you should have transferred/or applied for utility and other services to the property and these should have been activated. You will need to provide you lessor/owner with a copy of your utility transfer documents confirming this has been accomplished. Check the water faucets, toilets, light fixtures air conditioning and any included appliances. Make sure these are all functioning properly. Do your own thorough inspection. Make note of anything that needs to be resolved prior to move in. There are times when items need to resolved AFTER move in. Make sure these are noted on your final move in inspection with the landlord/owner.
At move-in, a checklist will be prepared noting the condition of the property. Confirm any outstanding items have been taken care of and note any that are unresolved. On the check list make any damages or other observations with the property are noted. Sometimes photos are taken to accompany the move-in check list. Its very important that you obtain a copy of the move-in check list and photos if possible. These will come in handy when you move-out. After your move-in check list is completed, you will be handed the keys.
Congratulations, you are a renter!
Moving out from your rental requires good planning also. When you moved you most likely paid a security deposit. You probably want as much, or all, of it returned to you. The condition that you leave the property in will probably dictate how much of that you will get back. You should return the property to level of cleanliness equal to better than when you moved-in. Pull out your copy of the move-in check list and compare this to the current condition of the property. Take a look at the photos and care them to current conditions. Ask the owner/property manager to come by a few days before your scheduled move to take a look at the property and see if there is anything that you might need to take care of prior to your exit.
After the lessor/owner has given you the "all clear" then have the utilities and other services terminated that you had transferred or applied for when you first moved in.
At this point turn over the keys to the lessor/property manager. This date should be right at or just before the lease termination date in your lease agreement.
Perhaps your needs changed and you need something larger or smaller? Perhaps you've made the decision to live the American/Guamanian dream and purchase your first property. Either way, the award winning team of REALTORS at Today's Realty is ready to help you.