Protecting your peace of mind
Most people go through the process of renting a home; some spend years in rentals, others simply grab a house for a few months at a clip. In any case, financial pitfalls may await, so it’s important to understand the procedure before moving in. Landlords and real estate agents are all sugar and honey at move-in, but can easily turn bitter once damages and repairs become subjects of discussion.
First thing comes first: finding the right home.
Many prospective renters, when finding a home within their requirements, rush into agreeing on the spot and move in within days. Only weeks later they realize they should have conducted a detailed investigation of the premises, or at least a thorough walk-through. The result is in most of the cases the same: serious disputes over the property’s condition when the time comes to move out.
To avoid such instances, invest a few hours of dedicated attention and record everything about the state and operation of the respective home. Pay extra attention to door frames, HVAC units and kitchen appliances, as these are usually the most problematic ones.
Look into the owner.
Search for records and documents from the previous property owners pertaining to repairs and issues. Look into your rights as a renter and what to expect in terms of liability. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if any liens or claims have been drawn against the owners. Do all of these before you sign any contract.
Research and purchase Renter’s Insurance.
Once you’ve signed the lease agreement and moved in your new home, it is fundamental to research and select renter’s insurance. Landlords keep their own insurance policies to protect themselves against liability they may owe you; it would be wise you did the same. Renter’s insurance allows you to create item-lists to include your most valuable possessions; furthermore, you can even include replacement cost values rather than existing ones – this will reimburse you a larger amount of money on case of theft or damage to your property.
Keep in mind that renter’s insurance doesn’t protect you on case of natural disasters – earthquakes, flooding, or any “act of God”. If you live in an area that is prone to such events, look into supplemental insurance.