Unlock the secrets to smart renting. Whether you are a first-time renter or looking to upgrade, learn savvy strategies to find the perfect place.
Renting is the way of life for approximately 70% of military families. It provides a flexible and convenient housing option that works well with a military lifestyle. You can enjoy the benefits of having a place to call home without the long-term commitment of homeownership.
Here are a few smart moves to consider when renting a home:
Smart Money Moves
- Check your credit. Correct any errors on your credit report prior to submitting a rental application.
- Know what you can afford. Limit your monthly rent payment to your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) or 25% of your gross monthly income.
- Budget for additional expenses. Consider other costs that come with renting, such as a security deposit, utilities, water, and internet.
- Read your rental agreement. Get everything in writing and don’t rely on oral agreements.
- Protect your stuff. Theft and property damage can happen to anyone, so be prepared and protect yourself with renters insurance.
- Protect your rental reputation. Document the rental’s condition upon moving in by taking photos and video to avoid any damage disagreements when you move out.
- Protect your credit reputation. Make your rent payments on time.
Smart Lifestyle Moves
- Research the area. Get to know the school districts, opportunities for spouse employment, and crime rates for the area.
- Think amenities! Do you need access to a gym, pool, or laundry facilities?
- Consider the commute. Factor in the cost of gas, milage and time.
- Negotiate the extras. Inquire about covered parking, washer and dryer, and other niceties of rental life when signing a lease.
- Spill the tea. Or in this case, read what others are saying about the landlord and management company before signing a lease. Understanding their reputation can provide valuable insights.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
- Rushing the process: Take your time to do thorough research and view multiple properties to find the best one that meets your needs and budget.
- Not understanding the lease agreement: Make sure you read the lease agreement carefully and ask for clarification on any clauses that you don’t understand.
- Ignoring the neighborhood: Don’t choose a rental property based solely on its interior features and amenities. The location is just as important, as it will impact your quality of life. Make sure you research the neighborhood and take note of the crime rate, public schools, and access to public transportation, nearby shops and restaurants.
- Overlooking hidden fees: Factor in additional expenses like utilities, parking fees, trash removal, and other monthly expenses that might not be included in the rent. Make sure you understand the full cost of living in the rental property before signing the lease agreement.
- Not checking for maintenance issues: Don’t assume that a rental property is in good condition just because it looks good on the surface. Make sure you inspect the property thoroughly for any maintenance issues before signing the lease agreement.
- Not negotiating rent: Don’t assume that the rent price is fixed. In some cases, landlords may be willing to negotiate the rent or offer allowances like free parking or a lower security deposit. It never hurts to ask.