House on Rent – How to choose the right one

Relocating to a new place and looking for a suitable house on rent can be a traumatic and long drawn affair. A host of variables have to be considered and a house has to be found that meets all your requirements. This might not always be possible but in that case you have to find one that at least meets all your major needs. While consulting an agent to do house hunting for you will solve all your problems, it is recommended that in that case too, you should have a hands-on involvement in the process. After all you will be living in it and naturally you will know what will be best for you.

Here are a few tips on how to choose the right rental home.

  • What you can afford – Draw up a budget on the quantum of rent that you can really afford which for most people is around 30% of their income. However, you should take into account all your fixed expenses like mortgages, debts, commuting and grocery expenses before arriving at a definite rental amount that you can pay. Consider the new additional expenses like utilities (unless the rent includes this too), cable and Internet which may be more than what you were paying in your old home.

Further, calculate what you might have to pay before moving in and make provision for it. Generally, a landlord requires 4 weeks rent as bond, 2 weeks rent as advance and 1 week letting fee. This can work out to a substantial sum. Think about the insurance too. Your landlord will have insurance on the structure only and you have to take out a separate cover for your personal assets.

  • Type of rental – Decide on the type of rental that you need, the size of the house and the duration of the lease. Make sure that you look at future additions to the family. The options open in front of you are an apartment in a high rise building, townhouse or a single-family home. The pros and cons of each depend on your lifestyle and specific necessities. For example, if you are a creative director like the famous Jarrod Carland and often work from home, you should look for a house that has a studio like environment with at least one room that has plenty of natural light for most of the day.
  • Get a feel of the neighbourhood – Settle on a neighbourhood and find out the type of rental that is available there. Once you have made your choice, take some time out to scout the location. If you take public transport to work, is there good connectivity? What about grocery and convenience stores, are there enough around? What do you do on weekends – are there entertainment options nearby? If you have children, are there schools in the vicinity? Another important aspect that you should research is the incidence of crime in the area. If car thefts are common, take a house with a garage, if break-ins and muggings are reported from the area, choose an apartment flat with a doorperson and security personnel who will control access of visitors to the building.
  • Read the fine print of the lease – Once you have finalised the premises, go through the fine print of the lease and make sure that you thoroughly understand every clause in it. Length of the lease, property maintenance policies, deposit and refund on moving out and whether cosmetic changes can be made to the premises are some of the points that you should be cautious about.

Keep these tips in mind when you go house hunting and you should get a home that matches all your needs.