Renting is something nearly every 20-something experiences. Some rentals are better, some roommates cleaner, and some landlords more pleasant than others, but whatever your situation may be, renting can be confusing and intimidating. That’s why RATS is here to help figure out what rental is best for you and some signs to avoid before signing your lease.
Location, location, location
It’s true. Location is the most important part of real estate. Living in a new area is always an exciting prospect. But be sure to scout the location prior to deciding so you can get a real feel of the neighbourhood. If possible, talk to the landlord, any potential roommates, and neighbours about the neighbourhood first. Find out about the good and the bad; what the area is like, especially at night, is transportation accessible, and where the closest amenities are.
Know your budget so you can find a suitable arrangement in an area that you feel comfortable in. Don’t reach for an area that is out of your price range — if you start looking in areas that are too expensive you’ll be left disappointed. Be open to living in neighbourhoods you may not have considered; you might actually like them! And keep in mind, the further you are from the city centre, the cheaper your accommodations will be. So take that into consideration when deciding how much you are willing to spend on rent and how far you are willing to travel to get to work, school, etc.
Inquiring into rentals can be difficult and time consuming. Don’t be discouraged when you don’t receive a reply from landlords; a lot of your emails will be unread. Keep sending out emails/ making calls until you have a few options. Good places to start are craigslist and Facebook groups for temporary rentals. But if you’re looking for something more long term, you may want to look into an agency who will set you up with a landlord. Beware, agency’s charges for finding locations.
Be sure to really look at all of the photos provided in an ad. If they only include two or three photos, there’s something the landlord isn’t showing; avoid. Photos of the neighbourhood are always good so you can get an idea of your surroundings, and help you find the location on Google Maps if you know the area well. Google Maps will be even more helpful if you know the location of the rental, so you can be specific in your searches and allow you to take a realistic view of the neighbourhood.
Skype the landlord first if possible before going in person to the rental. If it looks good on Skype, that’s a sign that it may actually be a good setup for you. Once you do visit the rental be sure to ask lots and lots of questions. Prepare a list prior and then ask more once there. Be sure you know what you are getting yourself into before moving in because a bad situation will only escalate once you move in and realize the reality of your new accommodations. If you’re going to have roommates, talk to them first to make sure you’re comfortable living with them. Ask them what it’s like living there and what the landlord is like (responsive, neglectful, etc).
Renting has become a necessary part of life for a lot of us, and the best advice we can give you is not to be discouraged. Although time consuming, keep looking as the rental for you will be there waiting.