As you all know, Kelly and I have been desperate to move from our rented accommodation. If you’re in our shoes and are thinking about renting a new (or old) home, our list of “Top 10 Things to Think about Before Renting a Home” can help to get your search off to the right start. Whilst the number of bedrooms, condition of the kitchen and bathroom, and size of the yard are important, there are other key things to consider before you start renting a property.
For us, this is the deciding factor on any property we rent in the future. You can live with practically any imperfection in a home if you love the neighbourhood and your neighbours. I mean you can change almost everything else, whether it is with a lick of paint or new carpets. But, once rented, you can not change your home’s location – unless you’re willing to pay out in admin fees again! When you go rented house hunting, consider any potential home’s proximity to your work, the neighbourhood, how the home is situated on the plot, ease of access, noise from neighbours, traffic, crime statistics, and access to local shopping amenities, schools, and public transport.
Beyond location look at the particular site of the home. If the home is on a main road, will this cause a problem getting your car off your drive? Do neighbours windows appear to look directly in to the potential home? If there is a garden, is the garden suitable for children, pets, gardening, and other uses? Is the access to the property safe – i.e driveway elevation, stairs up to (if any) the front door?
If your like Kelly and I, and have had a really bad experience with noisy neighbours, make sure the neighbourhood meets your expectations, not just the home – after all, what will your visitors think, first impressions count! A good idea is to check out potential neighbourhoods on a week night and especially on weekends – as weekends are renowned for neighbours partying etc. Also, seen as I have OCD, it’s a good idea to consider if the neighbours gardens and driveways are well kept – who wants to be living next to a scrap yard?! Another thing to consider is if the neighbourhood is safe enough for people to walk, run, or bike around.
The appearance of your home says a lot about you – whether it’s rented or not. Your home should reflect your lifestyle. If you live a laid back life then you may not wish to live in an old formal Victorian style home – most probably you want something simple and modern, with all the modern luxuries. Take in to consideration the exterior of the property – a brick home is easier to maintain than a pebble dashed home (which from my experience leaves pebble dashing on your front door step every morning, resulting in the must have investment of a quality broom!) Also, consider the roof – is it in good condition. Is the landscaping attractive and are the sidewalks leading to the home safe?
Size and Floor Plan:
You may walk in to a potential rent property and think WOW this is amazing, but have you considered the size of the living area and floor plan – is it capable of fitting your sofa in? Are the bedrooms big enough for that king size bed (if you have one)! Also, consider if it has an en-suite with a bath and over bath shower, do you really need the luxury of an en-suite of this size when the main bathroom is adequate – added luxuries like these cause more cleaning! A large home can give you that all important extra space you’ve always wanted – but remember, you’ll pay higher heating bills and have higher taxes. Also, such a property will take more furniture to furnish and money to decorate. The best way to consider the size and floor plan is to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms:
It is important when looking to rent a home that you consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you really need. We advise that you only look at homes that meet your criteria, as it would be a shame to fall in love with a cosy, charming home that just isn’t big enough! Also, remember that an extra bedroom is always a plus and can always come in handy as it can be used for a home office or guest room.
If, like our home, the kitchen is the heart of your home, don’t settle for a home with a kitchen that just won’t work. You need to ensure that the potential rented property has sufficient work top space. It would be disastrous if you decided to rent a property, paid all those admin fees and then realised that by the time you had put your microwave, kettle, tea sugar and coffee canisters out that there was no room to prepare your Sunday dinner veg!
Closets and Storage:
Older homes tend to have small wardrobes and not a lot of storage space. If your like us and have lots of clothing, sports equipment, out-of-season clothes and holiday decorations, be sure you know where it will all go in your new rented home. Newer homes tend to have bigger storage spaces and built in wardrobes. Remember, you can always add storage space – but this may mean you have to sacrifice living space in your rooms.
Windows and Lighting:
The question is, do you love a bright room or do you love privacy? When looking at a potential rented home remember to keep light and sunshine in mind, as well as air ventilation. It’s no good if your a curry lover renting a home with no kitchen window! Also look at the locations of electrical outlets and fixtures – will they accommodate your lighting needs?
Some times the simplest home looks spectacular because of the installation of mod cons, hardware and a possibly a fireplace. If these elements are important to you, look for them while house hunting or be ready to add them after you move in – if your landlord approves of this of course! If you keep these specific elements of a home in mind, your rented house hunting will be more successful, and you’ll likely end up with the rented home of your dreams – whether it be a house or apartment!