If you thought finding a rental property and maintaining it was going to be easy, think again. Rent is one of the most complex things in life that you will want to master. That is, if you always want a roof over your head. It’s known that it can be difficult, especially during COVID season, but there is a way out. Experts have searched wide and far to find out what the best approach is when it comes to renting residential property. This includes finding, managing, and maintaining the costs of any rental residential property. It could be a house or an apartment; the tricks of the trade are still the same.
This article will let you in on seven habits that will help you succeed in renting residential properties. Each habit is fairly important when it comes to renting residential properties; this will come in handy in the real world. (You will also be able to apply these habits to stay vigilant with your finances.)
Habit #1: Be Realistic About What You Can Afford By Being Aware Of Your Personal Finances.
This is extremely important as a starting point and probably the most vital step. You can’t even begin to search, if you don’t have your finances in order. That’s why you need to be asking yourself what you are currently making. It is also important to think of what the costs are likely to be, in order for you to create a viable budget plan. For example, your monthly income after taxes is $3500. Let’s assume that you spend $600 on transportation, food, and utilities, then you will be left with $2900. To be on the safe side, it would be prudent to put another $600 aside for other unexpected expenses. Hence, rental property you should be looking for is something in the range of $1900-$2300.
You should take into consideration how much it will cost for your necessities. (This means things you need to live and stuff, not the new hover-board you have wanted since you were a kid.) Additionally, you should set aside an emergency fund for anything that might take you by surprise. Excluding the necessities and the emergency fund, you will find that the money leftover is enough for you to rent residential property.
Habit #2: Make Sure You Are All Caught Up With Your Credit Card Bills And That You Are In Good Standing With Your Credit.
Nothing is more of a hindrance than having bad credit while trying to find a rental home that you would personally feel satisfied in. There is one thing that landlords like to check the most with prospective tenants. It’s their credit rating. Why? If you have bad credit, that’s the first sign of trouble. Many rentals have a minimum credit score requirement that you would need to meet, in order to be accepted as a tenant. If you don’t get that minimum score, then you are automatically denied.
Credit rating shows your financial commitment and that is the most important thing to a landlord. No one likes waiting for money and end up receiving it late. (They give you a roof over your head, so be nice and pay your landlord on time.) If you have bad credit, then it means that you are unreliable. There is a minimum credit score that you are required to meet. If you do not meet the credit score, then you will not be considered.
Habit #3: Prioritize Needs Rather Than Wants, When Beginning To Search For A Rental Home That Would Suit You.
Your search for a rental is a delicate balancing act between living the life that you want to live and the life that you can currently afford to live. (What you want vs. what you can afford; the modern day dilemma.) It is up to you to maintain that balance that will help you make the most satisfactory choice. You should keep this in mind when you are looking into a number of potential candidates as a future home. Be realistic about what you can afford and select a rental property that won’t exhaust your expenses. (Settling down in an apartment building with a Jacuzzi, private gym, and pool can wait if all you can afford is a one-bedroom small apartment.)
You can always reach for higher prospects later in life, but aiming too high when you cannot afford it is a nightmare in the making. After the first few weeks of bliss and early morning solo pool parties, you will be stuck with an apartment you cannot afford and no way out. (Talk about between a rock and hard place.)
Habit #4: Keep All Your Financial Papers In Organized Files And Do Good Networking, Because You Will Need References.
If there’s one thing that is similar to getting a job, it’s getting a rental. The first thing you need to do is keep all your bank statements and pay stubs. Your landlord will ask you for a proof of income and you will need to have that ready. In addition, make sure you are on good terms with your boss and your other contacts. Because you will be obligated to submit reference letters and you will want all of them to testify that you will be a good tenant.
Even if you hate your boss and everyone you work with, you may need them later on. It is not easy and you have to stop rolling your eyes so much, but it might be necessary. You will need them for reference letters that will make you look good in front of your landlord.
Habit #5: Learn To Read Contracts Carefully, And That Includes The Fine Print.
Don’t sign anything if you haven’t read it and understood it down to the letter. In addition, learn about your rights as a tenant, by going to the Housing and Urban Development Department website (www.hud.gov). Don’t agree to anything that you feel might go against these rights.
You might find contracts long and boring, but you will need to read through them with a fine tooth comb. Your rental contract informs you of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. You will need to know what they are, because you do not want to be treated unfairly. By doing your research, you will understand what is within your rights and what isn’t. (It also allows you to prevent breaking any laws, by accident.)
Habit #6: Save Up For Your Down Payment Well In Advance.
Be sure that you have your down payment well in advance of when it’s due. So, when it is requested, you are ready to give it to the landlord. Generally, you should adopt a habit of prioritizing house expenses.
Look, being financially responsible sucks. But, that is the key to getting out of a sticky situation. You should have your down payment ready before your landlord asks for it. Because, if they ask for a down payment, you can give it to them right away. (As opposed to, having to go through your couch cushions for loose change to cover your down payment.) It should be a rule of thumb that housing expenses are prioritized, since that will be your main source of warmth in the winter.
Habit #7: Don’t Sign Anything or Give Any Payments, Unless You Have Thoroughly Inspected The Property.
Just like you would give a car a test drive, don’t ever accept a secret garbage dump. It is unacceptable as either a temporary or a permanent abode. Inspect the place you are about to live in thoroughly, before agreeing to pay or sign anything. Make sure the pipes are in good condition, the water is running well, and that the heating and cooling system is working properly.
This is extremely important for you, as a tenant. There are landlords that will swindle you by giving you a housing unit that is internally damaged. (It’s cruel and unfair, but it is possible.) Your job, as a tenant, is that you ensure your potential home is inspected. From mold to rickety pipes, you have to look through every nook and cranny. Otherwise, you will be stuck with the expenses.
What Are Landlords Looking for in a Tenant?
Landlords look for certain qualities when it comes to their tenants. They will not just hand out housing units to anyone. Just as there are red flags for tenants, there are also qualities that landlords look out for. Instead of telling you the bad stuff, we are going to tell you about the good qualities that a landlord looks for in a tenant. (Nothing too extreme, just common decency on your part.)
We wanted to keep things positive, which is why we are only telling you the good qualities you can develop to be a good tenant. (Taylor)
Paying Rent on Time (No one likes a procrastinator.)
You need to pay rent on time, and not a day late. This is one of the most important qualities in a tenant. Most landlords will emphasize on paying rent on time in the rental agreement, which you will sign to receive your home. A good tenant will understand that landlords significantly depend on monthly rental payments as their income. Building on that, a good tenant would pay their rent on time.
Landlords could look through your rental history, to find out if you have a habit of late payment with your previous rentals. They could even request references to ensure that you are a reliable tenant.
Keeping the House in Good Condition (No one appreciates a slob, either.)
A good tenant will take care of the rental property, as if it was their own home. This is essential for landlords because it keeps their minds at ease. As a tenant, you should keep your rental clean, respect your neighbours, and keep your landlord informed of any issues that come your way. Trust us; your landlord will be relieved that you are so cooperative. (Just don’t knock at 3AM and tell them that you need your pipes fixed; landlords have lives too.)
As a good tenant, you are always welcome to suggest to your landlord any improvements to the rental property. Remember, you are living there, so you understand the house better. Improvements to the house will increase its value and increase the chances of extending your lease. This leads to the next good quality, long-term stay.
Staying Long-Term (Don’t leave, wait and stay a while.)
A tenant that stays for a long time is a dream come true for any landlord. This means that the landlord is guaranteed a steady flow of income. It also saves time for them to find your replacement. The equation to a long-term tenant is simple. If you are happy in the rental property, you will most probably not want to move out. What can you do to stay long-term? Voice your concerns, if you have any, and find a home that is exactly what you need. (Remember Habit #3, what you need trumps what you want.)
By expressing your concerns, you are allowing your landlord the space to fix it, rather than moving on to another place to stay. You might not believe it, but it is a hassle for the landlord and the tenant when the tenant leaves.
Communication is Key (It really is a two-way street.)
As the title suggests, communication is key. In order to have a good relationship with your landlord, you need to have open communication with one another. That way, you will be able to talk to each other and not face any issues. Once you have established good communication, then there is potential for you to stay longer and have a healthy relationship with your landlord. (You do not have to be a cliche and hate your landlord. You can have a good relationship and borrow sugar from them every once in a while.)
Taylor, Mark. The Qualities To Look For In A Good Tenant. 28 03 2017. 30 06 2021 <https://taylors.com.au/articles/the-qualities-to-look-for-in-a-good-tenant>.