There are many benefits to renting a house instead of buying one. You have more flexibility in terms of no long-term commitments, living in areas you could, otherwise, not afford and maintenance and homeowners insurance costs aren’t your responsibility.
But there are a few things you need to look out for and ask about when it comes to viewing housing options for rent. You still need to be happy with the property you’re going to be living on and the house you’re going to be living in. And you want to make note of these things while you’re viewing the home so that the landlord can have it all sorted out before you move in.
If you’re browsing in the summer, it’s a bit harder to find any leaks in the house yourself, so it’s important to ask. You don’t want to get stuck in the rainy season with buckets all over the house and a landlord you can’t get hold of. Not only are you looking for leaky roofs, but you’re also looking for leaking and dodgy plumbing fixtures.
This could not only lead to your house flooding on a Sunday afternoon with no one to call, but it could increase your water bill and waste litres of water. Nothing you want ever happening to you when it could be avoided in the first place by simply looking out for it. As soon as current tenants, when giving you the tour, mention a special way to flush the toilet (or a special way to do anything in the house, for that matter), you need to start looking somewhere else or make sure they sort that out before you move in.
What’s included in the offer?
Then you need to find out what is included in the renting offer. Are there any other costs you’ll need to factor in once you start living in the space? For example, most places don’t include furniture but stoves are generally built-in and, therefore, stay with the house. If, however, a stove isn’t included, you’ll need to budget to buy a new one.
If you’re on a subdivided or estate property, you need to check if the monthly levy is included in your rent, what you’re responsible for and what the landlord covers, how water and electricity are paid for and whether or not there is an ADSL or internet line.
If there’s anything missing that you believe should be included in what you’re paying for rent, make a list and discuss it with the landlord or estate agent. Include things in that conversation like asking for the house to be cleaned and walls to be repainted before you move in. It may not be a new place for them, but it’s going to be your new home and it should feel that way.
Storage space is necessary in every home, especially if you’re renting a place with no garage. You may think you don’t have a lot of things to bring into a home, but when the time comes to move in, you’ll find it very difficult to unpack all your boxes.
Built-in cupboard space is important in a home and should at least be in all the bedrooms. You could opt for a freestanding wardrobe or chest of drawers, but that will only take up more space in the room. The more cupboards you have, the less you have to worry about giving half of your inventory away just to try and fit into this new space.
Scouting out the windows in a place is important because you’re going to need to invest in some curtains and blinds to retain some privacy in the home. And that’s something you’ll want to do on day one of the move. Don’t feel weird about taking your tape measure out and getting the dimensions of all the windows in the house for curtain rails and height of the windows to the floor which you will be covering. You need to do it.
Your next step then would be to find curtains for sale and buy them as soon as possible. If you choose to rent that house, of course.
Can you afford it?
Then the last thing you need to ask yourself, before deciding on anything, is if you can afford it. It’s difficult to go through the process of viewing a house and falling in love only to realise you can’t, actually, afford it.
But it’s important to stick to your budget and work with what you have to spend on housing and everything that goes with it. Think about the quality of life you want and rather rent out the less glamorous but still more than suitable home and take the money you aren’t spending on rent to save up for something special to add to your new home. Like new bedroom curtains, for example.
You can make any place work if you have your loved ones and a space you can call home and make your own.