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There has long been a debate over whether it is wiser to buy or rent a home. Our purpose is not to add to this debate, but to help you prepare for doing the latter if this works best for you. Here are five things you need to know before signing any residential rental lease.

  • Learn the fair market rent (FMR): This is the gross amount of rent that you can expect to pay including utilities but excluding your telephone bill. You can learn this by using a site like RentData.org and plugging in the zip code for the area in which you are interested. If the rental cost for the property you interested in seems much higher than the average, then you may wish to continue shopping or use this data as a bargaining tool to talk down the price.
  • Negotiate lease terms: Many people who rent never bother to negotiate their lease. They assume that it is written in stone. Often, tenants do have the power to negotiate things such as the move in date, etc.
  • Check to see who will be responsible for utility costs: Rented homes may sometimes include all or some utilities. It is vital that you know how much if any of your utilities will be covered by your landlord. You may also have to set up your own utility account. If you will be paying for your own utilities you can usually call the utility company and get an average utility bill for a nearby home.
  • Do you need a guaranteer?: Your landlord will most definitely require you to undergo a background check to see if you are credit worthy and can meet this new financial obligation. If your credit is bad, however, it may not disqualify you for the home. You may instead need a guaranteer. A guaranteer agrees to be responsible if you can’t pay the bills.
  • What’s the lease term: Don’t assume it to be 12 months as many residential leases are. Find out specifically how long the term of your lease is. If you have a month-to-month lease’ you will have greater flexibility than with a traditional 12 month lease but it will also mean that your landlord will have the power to evict you at the end of each month. If you are confident that you wish to stay in the home even longer you may decide to ask for a multi-year lease.

There are many other things to know such as who is responsible for maintenance and repairs, whether or not you can sublet, if renter’s insurance is required etc. However the above list is a good starting part for preparing to rent a home. As movers in Burbank our Thousand Oaks moving and storage company can help you when it is time to move whether you are renting or buying a home.