Renting a property entails significant decision-making and research, just like any other major life decision. So, the more informed you are, the easier it is to select a suitable rental.
In comparison to buying properties, renting a house is easier since you don’t have to pay property taxes and can enjoy the freedom to move when things aren’t going your way. If you’ve already been living in a rental with your parents or roommate, you might be aware of the challenges of renting a home. Nevertheless, when you’re looking for a rental where you can live alone or with your spouse and kids, you need to consider several factors.
If you’re living in a suburb of the Capital, such as Rockville, MD, you might not want to move far from home. With immense cultural diversity, great neighborhoods, and employment opportunities, Washington, DC, continues to witness an increase in the number of domestic immigrants. Hence, it would be best to consider the Capital as your next stop for a rental.
Now, without further ado, let’s look at some factors to consider when renting a home or apartment:
Location and Neighborhood:
The importance of location when seeking a rental property cannot be undermined. While renting a house is a temporary arrangement, it is advisable to practice caution and avoid moving to unfavorable neighborhoods. It’s always best to visit the vicinity instead of booking a place online or over the phone with your agent. Washington DC is merely a 30-minute drive from Rockville MD, so you can easily visit the place you intend to move into before making a decision.
Moreover, it’s always best to consider moving near your current residence to avoid major lifestyle changes. Hence moving from Rockville, MD to Washington, D.C. might not be such a drastic change though you might get access to better neighborhoods and job opportunities.
Research town amenities like restaurants, retail stores, gas stations, and transportation. Will it take longer for you to commute from home to the workplace, especially during peak hours? Are there convenient stores and gyms you can go to? If you have children, are there good schools and hospitals located nearby? What is the crime rate of the town you will move to?
To assess your potential neighborhood better, visit it on different days and at various times of the day. You can also do a trial commute from the place to the work to see how long it would take you to reach.
Budget and Affordability
The most crucial aspect of renting is to know your budget. Determine your budget by calculating your monthly income and expenses for rent. If you have identified an appropriate property for your residence and it surpasses your budget, it is crucial to create a saving plan and examine what possible expenses can be curtailed.
It is prudent to limit your spending until you secure a rental property.
When assessing affordability, calculate the additional costs, such as utilities, maintenance fees, and other related expenses. Research rental prices: Explore the local rental market to get an idea of average prices in your desired area. The average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $2,369 and $3,200 in Rockville, MD, and Washington, DC, respectively.
Rental Market and Lease Terms
Research the local rental market to understand the availability of housing options and competitive prices. Carefully read and understand the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, including rent, duration, and penalties.
As a tenant, you should understand the dynamics of a rent increase. In the tenant-landlord agreement of a fixed duration, the rent cannot be increased if the tenant does not comply with it.
However, for a short-hold periodic tenancy, the landlord has the authority to increase the rent if the tenant consents to pay the increased amount.
To ensure a fair and legal rental experience, you should know your rights and obligations as a tenant. It would be best to hire a real estate agent to guide you through the process.
Before you move to a rental property, thoroughly inspect the house to examine its functionality and condition. Take notes of each aspect of the property and jot down any issues or areas that may require the landlord’s attention. Inform the landlord about your observations.
Determine how many appliances are included in the tenancy agreement and their working condition to ensure their functionality. The maintenance of these appliances will play a role in getting your security deposit back.
To avoid potential claims or disputes with the landlord, take photographs and document any pre-existing property damage or wear and tear before you move in. This will avoid the possible accountability or blame for any existing damage or issue. Lastly, communicate any needed changes or maintenance requirements to the landlord so that the issues can be resolved promptly.
Rental Application Process:
Gather all required documents, such as identification, proof of income, and rental history. Make sure to fill in accurate information in the application to increase your chances of approval. Be aware that landlords may conduct background and credit checks as part of the application process.
Maintain a civil relationship with your landlord or property manager for prompt issue resolution. Communicate any maintenance or repairs that are necessary for a comfortable living space. Understand your responsibilities as a tenant, including rent payment deadlines and property care. Having a cordial relationship with your landlord can make your rental experience a positive one.
Be prepared in cases of mishaps. Even the safest parts of town can experience incidents. You can be prepared by investing in renter’s insurance. It may cover the landlord’s belongings but not your specific possessions.
Consider obtaining renter’s insurance to protect your personal belongings against theft, damage, or accidents. It may also help you to replace your items or help you with medical bills if you are injured inside the house. Compare multiple insurance providers to get a policy that suits your needs and budget.
Remember, renting a house is a vital decision influencing your daily life and financial plans. Carefully consider all the factors outlined in this article to make well-informed decisions and find a rental property that matches your requirements and interests. We wish you happy house hunting!