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Questions To Ask Before Renting A House

Renting a house isn’t exactly like renting an apartment. When you rent an apartment, you expect certain things to be included, such as landscaping and trash, and you should know exactly who is in charge of managing the complex. If you're renting a home, that might not be obvious right out of the gate. So, as property managers ourselves, we at the BC Team wanted to provide you with a list of questions to ask before renting a home.

Let’s get started. Here’s what you should ask:

What Fees Do I Have To Pay?

Some houses require pet and parking fees, just like an apartment. But unlike an apartment complex, you may have to pay HOA fees, landscaping fees, pool maintenance fees, and city utility fees (such as sewer and storm water maintenance) that you didn’t have to before. Some of these fees can be included in your rent, but you won’t know unless you ask!

A homeowners association fee (HOA fee) is an amount of money that must be paid monthly by owners of certain types of residential properties, and HOAs collect these fees to assist with maintaining and improving properties in the association. These aren’t that common and are usually for gated communities, but be sure you ask so you’re not surprised at your first rent payment!

Most homes will have the usual move in fees too, like security deposits and first month rent, but be sure to ask so you know exactly what you need to pay.

What Appliances Are Included?

Don’t be fooled by photos. Sometimes, the washer and dryer and even the refrigerator aren’t included in the rental, or sometimes they’re not pictured at all! While it’s uncommon for the listing to not say what appliances are included, it’s very common for listings to be ambiguous about certain items.

We recommend asking about the following:

  • Washer/Dryer

  • Microwave

  • Lights in every room?

  • What type of stove

  • What type of fridge (double door or stacked)

This way, you’ll have an idea of what to actually expect when you tour the place. When it comes to houses, these are normally pretty cut and dry. However, some homeowners list photos during renovations, so it’s possible a missing appliance will be included when you’re ready to move in.

Ask About Cell Service and Internet

If you can’t tour the property, ask about cell service. You don’t want to be stuck in a dead zone. If you can tour the home, pull out your phone and pay attention to how many bars you get in every room. This could be a deal breaker if you work from home.

When it comes to the internet, always ask about what plans are available in the area. You may think that’s silly, but a new study by Common Sense Media and the Boston Consulting group shows that 29 percent of Arizona students don't have access to the internet in their own home. You don’t want to be left without either.

What Happens if the Landlord Wants to Sell?

A home isn’t as secure as an apartment when it comes to selling properties. It’s common for an apartment complex to sell to new managers without affecting your lifestyle, but what happens if you’re in a home?

It all depends on your lease. Some leases state you will be a 30 day notice if your rental home is going under contract to be sold. In those 30 days, you will have to find a new place to live, unless the new owner decides to continue renting out the home.

Always ask and read your rental agreement from top to bottom to understand what will happen if the owner does decide to sell the property.

Is the Property Managed by the Landlord?

Many landlords use property managers. They will be your point of contact for everything (except maybe rent payments), so it’s important to know!

How is Rent to be Paid?

Some landlords want it mailed to them, others want it sent to them online, and others want their property manager to handle it all. Be sure to ask well in advance of your first payment.

Will You Need Renter’s Insurance?

Some landlords require renters to insure their spaces. If your landlord does, you need to know so you can plan for this added expense.

Not all rental homes require renter’s insurance, but it’s a great thing to have, just in case. Failure to get insured could cost you a fortune in damages if your upstairs neighbor's clogged sink causes a flood that damages all your possessions while you're at work or away for a weekend.

How Old Is the Roof?

In apartments, you don’t have to worry about the state of the building. With homes, it’s a bit of a different story. An old roof can cause immense damages to the home and your furniture if it fails. The average lifespan of a roof is about 20 years, depending on the material. So if the home is nearing or over 20 years old, it’s a good question to ask. If the realtor doesn’t know, have them get the information for you.

If the roof is past its expected lifespan and the landlord has no intention of fixing it, it might be time to look at another rental home.

And there you have it: our list of questions to ask before you rent a home. If you’re in the market for homes for rent, take a look at what we have available or give us a call. We’ll be happy to work with you to see if one of our homes will be your future home.

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