Whether you’re keen to gain some independence, or your parents are nudging you out the front door, you’re now embarking on your first venture into the world of real estate renting! Preparing to rent your first home can be exciting, overwhelming and at times a little scary, so we’ve decided to help you out with this guide for first time renters. We will begin with tips for choosing your first rental home, but keep a look out over the coming weeks for more tips for first time renters.
- Choose your area carefully. Consider the lifestyle you like to lead and start compiling a list of your ‘must haves’, ’would like to haves’, and ‘deal breakers’. If you have children you may need to be close to daycare or schools, singles may want nearby bars or to have easy access to public transport, and couples may choose to be within an easy travel to cafes and restaurants. Google maps is a great guide to what’s on offer in every suburb, but if you’d like to make a quick comparison between neighbourhoods, visit http://www.walkscore.com/ to quickly find each areas ‘walk score’. Be more specific and search for great areas by using the website’s Rentals feature.
- Be on the ball! Setting up real estate email alerts is a good start, but don’t rely solely on one website. In a competitive rental market it’s important to know as soon as new houses become available so that you’re one of the first to inspect. A great way to get ahead of the game is to speak with local real estate agents. They will not only let you know which of their available properties may suit you, but they may also know of other houses that will be coming up soon.
- If you do see a rental house online that you think may suit you, don’t hesitate to phone the listing agent with specific questions you have about the home, or to request an inspection prior to the first open house. This may not be possible if the house is currently tenanted, but it never hurts to ask – or to show your enthusiasm.
- Make sure you read the fine print. Some rental listings may have specific limitations, such as “short term lease only”, “no pets”, or “not available until”. Read the listing carefully and determine whether or not their special conditions will suit you. Can you stay put until the house becomes available; do you have any pets that will not meet the owner’s approval; will the length of lease be problematic for you? You don’t want to be settling into your new home only to find the owner is moving back in six months, and equally, you don’t want to sign a 12 month lease if you’re only planning on staying for the summer.
- Can you afford it? In a competitive rental market it is unlikely that you will be able to negotiate the price down, so make sure you look in the right price range for you. If you’re preparing to rent your first home it’s highly likely that you’ve been shielded from the expensive reality of paying bills up until now. It’s a good idea to calculate your typical weekly food and petrol costs, find out the costs of a phone line, internet, insurances, water, electricity and gas, and then work out how much you will have left over. This will be used to pay for rent and entertainment, like going out for dinner and movies. Are you willing to fore-go a night out to pay an extra $50 per week?
With the help of these guidelines, do your research and make the choice that’s right for you. If you’d like to discuss your specific requirements with one of our Professionals Property Managers, please contact Professionals Fairfield Real Estate on 9727 5122, and stay tuned for our ‘First Time Renters – House Inspection Tips’ coming soon.