When seeking out the right rental home, there are a variety of factors you’ll need to consider.

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Even if a property appears to be a perfect fit, committing to rent a residence without doing your homework is liable to result in copious regret. Of course, this isn’t to say that tracking down the right rental home needs to be an uphill battle. By knowing what to look for and familiarizing yourself with various red flags, you’ll be able to make an educated, informed decision when selecting your next rental.

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Location of the Property

It isn’t hard to see why so many real estate professionals value a property’s location over its general condition or amenities. Properties located in desirable, in-demand areas often command much higher rents than those found in unpopular and/or out-of-the-way locales. Even if a property is relatively new, well-maintained and brimming with amenities, all of this is likely to be considered secondary to where it’s located. 

In other words, if you’re looking for a property in a popular area, you should expect to pay fairly high rent. Conversely, if you’re willing to settle for living in an area with low-demand, you may find rents to be a lot more reasonable. Of course, if the area in question has high crime rates or is generally considered unsafe, this should be taken into careful consideration. 

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You’ll also need to take personal convenience into account. For example, if a property is located a fair distance from your place of business and/or favorite centers of commerce, getting around may prove inconvenient. Depending on how far away a property is from your usual haunts, lower rent may not be worth the hassle of getting to the places you need to be. 

Needless to say, the larger the area, the more prospective properties you’re likely to come across. For example, anyone on the hunt for Houston rental homes is going to find a vast array of options from which to choose.  

Condition of the Property 

Signing a lease for a property that you haven’t personally inspected can come back to haunt you in a number of ways. So, unless you’re desperate beyond a reasonable measure, committing to rent a home sight unseen is never a good idea. At the very least, you should insist that the landlord take you on a remote virtual tour instead of simply providing you with photos of the property. 

When doing your initial walkthrough, take note of any issues – or potential issues – you come across. If the property owner becomes dismissive or combative in response, you’d do well to seek out other properties. A landlord undermining your concerns right off the bat is never a hopeful sign, so rather than take your chances, just get out of the deal before any paperwork is signed. 

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Conversely, if the landlord appears open to fixing the issues you raise, make this a prerequisite for you moving in. This approach will provide the property owner with incentive to make good on their word in a timely manner. On the flipside, if you agree to postpone certain repairs until after you’ve moved in, the landlord is unlikely to be as expedient in making the necessary fixes. Additionally, since homeowners insurance is inapplicable to rental properties, take care to find a good renters insurance policy.     

Reputation of the Landlord 

It’s no big secret that some landlords are far more accommodating and sympathetic to tenants’ needs than others. To help prevent yourself from getting stuck with an unreliable, dismissive landlord, do some online research on the property owner and carefully consider any complaints from other renters. While every landlord is likely to have a few unfavorable ratings, you should be wary about renting properties from people with overwhelmingly negative feedback. 

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As is the case when searching for any type of residence, it pays to do your homework when seeking out the right rental home. If you take the time to research the property, the location and various other factors, you’ll have all the info you need to make an educated decision. Conversely, failure to gather the right information or going with your gut are likely to bring about undesirable consequences. So, the next time you find yourself on the hunt for a rental home, remember to consider the elements discussed above.