One of the most common questions when looking to rent is “When should I start my search for rentals near me?”
We’ve created a step-by-step guide to the whole process of searching for rentals. Here’s everything you need to know in a nutshell: to help ease the stress that comes along with your search.
Ask yourself ! When should I start looking?
Most of us would start looking about 2 to 3 months before the move, but its best to start actively searching for your next rental property around 4 weeks before your move. Properties come and go relatively fast especially if its priced to go or in great shape.
So its safe to say if you find a great property now on a website and plan to move in 2 months, it may not necessarily be available when you’re ready to move. But it’s a great idea to start searching to get an idea of what you next place should look like or conducting some research into areas where you might like to live.
Preparation is key to finding that special one.
If your moving date is a little way off, you can set up an email alert on if possible or download an app. This will enable you to get all new properties sent to you on daily, or weekly basis (as you please).
Think about your budget
Deciding to rent is an important life decision. Each stage of the renting process comes with a price tag, whether paying your security bond or paying rent on time. Practice good money habits before and after you begin living in a new apartment so you can keep your finances in good order.
Get outside and explore!
While it would be nice to be able to trust the photos you see online, don’t assume they mirror what rental spaces look like in person. When you visit some rental properties, try to get a feel for the neighborhood. How far is it from the train or supermarket.
Are you surrounded by young singles or families? Checking out the area before you move in will eliminate any nasty surprises.
When you do get a place – Review your lease
Read it once, read it twice and read it one more time. It’s better to go over a lease a hundred times before signing, than to be stuck in an unfortunate situation. Consider the legal standards for both landlords and tenants, and make sure that your lease reflects these.
- What is included in this lease agreement, do I need to pay for utilities?
Some properties come with utility bills (water, gas and electricity) included as part of the rental payments, while others don’t. Occasionally you’ll find a lease that also has garden maintenance included. There’s no one set format for lease agreements, and this decision comes down to the choice of the property owner. Ask the landlord/property manager which of these bills will be your responsibility.
- What’s the best course of action if my property needs maintenance?
Many landlords have a preferred contractor who will deal with emergency situations at the property. If an agent manages your property, they may organize quotes and coordinate any required works to a pre-arranged financial limit. Discuss the situation that applies to your property with your landlord/agent to ensure you’re comfortable with the process.
- How will you check my tenancy history – is there anything I can provide?
A good landlord or property manager will do their best to screen all tenants applying for their property personally. Assuming the landlord is present when you first inspect a property, they’ll use this as a starting point to assess your suitability. Ask your landlord or property manager whether they use a system that checks your creditworthiness and any breaches in your rental history.
- Should I get insurance to cover my possessions?
Never assume that your landlord’s insurance will cover the things you value most in life. It may offer some protection for the home you rent out, but a contents insurance policy for your possessions is something you need to organize.
- What is your policy on adding people and pets to the lease?
Some tenancy agreements will require every individual over a certain age to sign the lease agreement; others only need a single tenant’s name. Some properties allow pets and children, and others don’t. If you’re considering expanding your family, be upfront with the landlord/property manager and ask the question. That way you won’t be left in a tight corner after the contract is signed.
- What sort of lease duration are you looking for?
If the landlord is keen on keeping tenants on for a minimum of two years at a time, but you can’t see yourself staying past 12 months, now is the time to mention this. Being upfront will put you in good stead should they still wish to consider your application.
- What should I do if I ever fall behind on rent?
The landlord or property manager should be able to provide you with a clear outline of their rental arrears policy. But remember, if you need to ask this at the outset of the tenancy, it could be a red flag for a lot of landlords and agents looking for a tenant with good financials.
- What payment methods will you accept for rental payments?
A landlord or property manager should make it easy for you to pay your rent on a regular basis. Online payments (such as Direct Debit/bank transfer) are a reliable way to pay the rent because they allow for automation, security and convenience for both parties.