So exciting! Saying goodbye to apartment living, and HELLO to space, privacy and the neighborhood lifestyle! But in all the excitement of shopping for this new life, you might miss a few things that could be a constant annoyance for your entire lease term.
Here's a quick list of FIVE things to look out for...
1. Will you be working with a Landlord or (faceless) Property Management Company?
Unless you happen to get the PERFECT house to rent, things will go wrong or need to be repaired. And when you need help, who are you going to call? And how quickly are they going to fix things? THIS is the difference between a landlord and a property management company (PMC). Landlords are real people and PMC's are not. It's awesome to have a relationship with the person that is going to "make everything better" when bad things happen. Real people generally will take responsibility and unfortunately, most PMC's do not feel that same sense of care over you. They also are less likely to see you as a real person during the application process (and more likely to see you as just a credit score and a background check).
During the home shopping process, you can find out who is going to be your main contact during the lease term by calling the listing agent to ask them. The question you will want to ask is, "who handles the property management on this home?" Then the agent will tell you what type of relationship you can expect when repairs or property problems happen. Want an easier option? Have your Real Estate Guide for Life (hello!) find out for you. Life is just better when you have a guide.
2A. Hello... Can you hear me now? (Mobile phone signal)
No one wants to have to step outside to receive phone calls OR have to buy an accessory signal booster. The easiest way to avoid all that pain is to pull out your phone at each property and take note of your signal. Walk to the primary bedroom, the living room and anywhere else you will spend significant amounts of time. The flip side to this is that maybe you like feeling disconnected from the demands of this world while at home. So either way, this is a great thing to check.
2B. SLOW Internet Speeds
Need more than 100 megabytes per second? Then BEFORE you fall in love with a rental home, go to BroadbandNow.com to find out if this house is going to meet your bandwidth speed expectations.
4. HIDDEN Energy Costs
What could be more hidden than energy efficiency? Texas gets HOT. Old and outdated air conditioning units can add an extra $50 to $200 to your housing expenses. So during a home showing, walk around the outside of the house and find the condenser unit (or units). They look like this. Then take a picture of the label so you can google the model number later to find out the SEER rating (seasonal energy efficiency rating) and how old the unit may be. If it's less than 10 years old and over 13 SEER, then you are looking good my friend!
Other things to check: Water heaters (if electric), windows (hopefully double pane, Low E) and high ceilings (more air space to cool/heat).
#5 Bad Neighbors - They can ruin your rental experience.
I understand it's not nice to judge the "book by the cover", but check out your neighbors. If you are picky about who lives in proximity to you, then take a look around. Look for clues! Speakers mounted on back patios mean that you may not be going to bed as early as you think on a Saturday night. Don't like kids? A neighbor with a trampoline and soccer goal in their backyard may ruin your peaceful weekend relaxing outside with a nice book and a chardonnay.
On a serious note, also be aware of crime reports and neighbors with past criminal convictions. Use these resources if this is a concern:
Local Crime Map Search - CommunityCrimeMap.com
Local Sex Offender Search - CityData.com
The bottom line is that shopping for a HOME is not as simple as it may seem. I want you to be happy, so I hope this helps you pick a place that fits all your expectations (so you won't have regrets later). For more info on how we help people figure out this process, visit timothyhenley.com to enjoy the shopping experience and make life simple.
Your Real Estate Guide for Life,
P.S....Or just schedule a quick call with me at your convenience! Taking any step towards a better life just feels good.