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Financial Tips for Renters

Guest January 30, 2013 Financial Tips, Renter Resources No Comments

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Moving into your own place for the first time is exciting.  Unfortunately, that excitement can lead to poor decision-making when choosing a rental.  There are several important points that must be considered when renting an apartment, condominium, or home in order to maximize one’s financial position and minimize downside risk.

Check Crime Rates

If you are moving into a new city, understanding the crime landscape is imperative.  It’s too easy to get online and find apartment complexes that appear beautiful and peaceful in pictures, but are actually located in high crime areas.  Before ever moving into a rental, make sure to check crime rates in the area.  This can be done by visiting websites such as www.neighborhoodscount.com.  High crime areas can lead to more expenses via property damage, stolen goods, auto theft, etc.

Check on the Landlord

The rental application process is designed to run a background check on the renter, but the renter ought to run just as serious of a search on the landlord.  Renting from an unscrupulous landlord can lead to both extreme frustration and financial stress in the future.  When your air conditioner stops working for some reason, you want to know your landlord will be on top of the issue immediately.  Check online reviews and ask any neighbors you see when visiting the complex.

Negotiate Rental Application

Oftentimes the rental application is $30 or more.  If you are looking at multiple rentals, this can add up quickly.  Negotiate to see if you can roll the cost of the application into the first month’s rent.  Most landlords will comply as it makes sense to forgo a small $30 fee in order to lock in a 6 month or 12 month lease.

Understand the lease

This is the absolute most important part of the rental agreement.  Make sure you understand and agree with every line of the lease.  Don’t simply flip to the back page and sign.  Bring any concerns or questions to the landlord before signing.  Make sure that when you finally sign, you are in agreement with all terms and conditions of the lease.

Understand Deposit Details

The details that outline the deposit details are very important.  It is typically very easy for a landlord to accept a lease, and very difficult for them to give it back!  Make sure you understand and agree with the specific terms and conditions that outline the return of your deposit.  This is typically an entire month or two of rent, so it is important that you receive this deposit when you terminate the lease in the future.

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance may seem like a wasted expense, but it can save you lots of money.  If your property is ever stolen or damaged, or if there is ever an accident in your apartment and someone sues you, renters insurance will cover these expenses.  Typical renters insurance can be purchased for about $200 annually.

Pay on time

This should go without saying, but once the deposit is made, the lease is signed, and the keys are handed over, make sure to pay rent on time every month.  Late payments typically affect credit scores and result in high fees. Look into paying your rent online to avoid pesky late fees and to have your rent payments reported to a credit bureau every month so that it can increase your credit score!

This has been a guest post by Danielle Thomas from processingfinder.com.

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