Renting a home gives you increased flexibility to move when you want. Don't like the neighbors, traffic pattern, smells, or sounds of a place? Need to leave for a less (or more) expensive place if your income changes? A move is easier if you are renting a home because renting involves less commitment.
Renting also shifts property management and maintenance responsibilities to a landlord. The maintenance and upkeep costs included in the rent will be more efficiently spent by a professional apartment manager over a large number of apartments on a property.
In general, if you are new to a place, and you are not certain that you are going to stay, start out renting.
When you rent an apartment, be prepared to pay a month's rent in advance plus a deposit (which may be approximately a month's rent). Also have with you some proof of income (tax return or statements) or employment (acceptance letter or employee identification).
CASE STUDY: Kevin gets a small apartment at a ski resort.
TACTIC: Make a list of potential rental properties by using newspaper classified ads, Internet rental sites, or even a walk through the neighborhood looking for signs.
Get listings based on the location within your target neighborhoods and the rent amount within your ability to pay.
Once you have a list of rental properties, you can eliminate some by a quick check of fundamentals.
You can usually judge these fundamentals by making an appointment for a quick visit to the property. You might even be able to eliminate some properties from your consideration just by viewing them from the street.
TACTIC: As you consider rental properties, look first for these fundamentals: safe, clean, pleasing, and quiet.
Check potential places to rent--ask is it...
Next, look at the properties that fit your needs.
TACTIC: If a property is fundamentally safe, clean, pleasing to you, and competently managed take the time to go through a detailed checklist.
Find out these items about each place to rent:
TACTIC: Consider renting the smallest apartment you can. You will save on money and make your life more efficient.
Your apartment will be priced based on what renters in the market are able and willing to pay. You may get more living area per dollar in a studio apartment than in a one-bedroom apartment because people who earn more usually want a separate, enclosed bedroom.
TACTIC: Make your final choice in your apartment and neighborhood by taking all the information you've gathered into account, but choose what you genuinely want--trust your "gut feeling."
Your apartment will have a tremendous impact on your mood and motivation. Don't just choose the cheapest apartment. Be willing to pay more for a better location or a more pleasing view, layout, or neighborhood. Choose an apartment that you are satisfied with from the start of renting it.
Search for free or low-cost housing
If your finances are limited, you might be able to find places where you can exchange work for free or low-cost housing.
TACTIC: See if you can find living arrangements for low or no cost in exchange for your work or time.
Check classified ads or contact nursing homes, large apartment complexes, colleges and universities, hotels and resorts, retirement homes, churches, or homeless or domestic shelters, or any institution that may provide services to residents around the clock. Ask if any positions are available which include free or reduced cost housing.
If you make such an arrangement, absolutely make sure you get the agreement in writing, in specific terms, before you move in. Make sure that the responsibilities required are worth the housing provided.
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