Whether you are renting a house or an apartment, there are always a list of important things to lookout for when you are renting a home. Even though you are only renting for a couple years, it is still good to have a checklist to guide you through during house viewing. If not for the rodent infestation or a special “kawan” living there, haha, do it because it will be the place that you come home to everyday until you decide to move again.
Beware Of Scams
Very often we have heard stories on how renters are robbed during house viewing or how scammers conned renters for money just to view homes. It is known as advanced fee fraud whenever they insist potential renters to make an up-front payment. Be mindful especially when you are browsing for property listings online. Make sure that the website that you visit is a legitimate and reputable website. If someone were to ask for a viewing fee, or personal details such as credit card, stop the conversation immediately and report the listing or the account.
Check Your Surroundings
Image by Dezeen.com
When you are going for a viewing, make sure you pay attention to your surroundings. Check with yourself, do you feel comfortable? Is it a safe location or a ghost town? If you are viewing at night, make sure that it is a well lit street with street lights. You might want to bring a friend or two with you for viewing, or inform someone of your whereabouts just to be safe.
Speak To The Landlord
During viewing, some agents might encourage the landlord to tag along. Otherwise, you can request for this arrangement. Whether you are renting or not, you should try and meet with your potential landlord and get acquainted. Don’t be shy to ask questions and get to know them in depth because you will be dealing with them long term, not the agent. This is also the chance for you to ask questions about the house or apartment, which the agent might not be familiar with. Don’t forget, you might even be able to haggle your rental to the amount that both parties are comfortable. You should know that when it comes to negotiation, it is very different when you negotiate with an agent and a landlord. An agent focuses on making a sale or a commission, whereas the landlord wants a tenant to move in immediately. When you negotiate directly with the landlord, chances of getting what you want is pretty high.
Inspect Home For Possible Repairs, Installations and Add On’s
I was very lucky to meet my landlord during viewing with an agent. Not only did we discussed about numbers right away, but we even got them to include some add-on’s such as lighting and new blinds. This prompted the landlord to check out around the apartment as well to make sure that some of the things should be fixed before we moved in. Plus, because it was a fully furnished apartment, we even requested for some of the unnecessary furniture to be removed. So, try to go around the house and lookout for little details that we might missed. Especially things like air-con, washing machine (if it comes with one), water heater or shower head, etc. Check if these things are working, in case you need them to get it fixed so that you get your money’s worth.
Are There Extra Or Hidden Expenses?
Remember to check with your landlord on things like how often does the rent increases. Ask if it includes any additional expenses such as utilities, maintenance or security fees if you are renting an apartment. Some landlords cover the maintenance fee, and some don’t. It is best to clarify before signing the agreement because we tend to overlook small details like these. Also check with your landlord on the deposit; how much do you need to fork out, as well as if there’s any extra fees for repairing in case something is broken. Some landlords would cover this extra expenses, some might just minus off from your deposit.
How To Deal With Pets and Other Restrictions
Some landlords are very particular with their tenants having pets. If you are a dog or cat owner, make sure you ask the landlord if they are okay with you having animals because technically it is their property. Most apartments do not allow pets, but some are more lax about the rules and allow ‘sneaking’ in a pet. You wouldn’t want to end up abandoning your pet when you move in, because by the time you find out, it is too late, or worse, you may have to move again and lose your deposit!
Best is to find out as much as possible including other restrictions such as nailing the wall to hang photo frames, repainting or laying cement over the carpet grass in the garden. Some landlords are okay with you making it as homely as possible, but some can be quite particular about it.
Locks and Security
Images by Homeanddecor.com
Keep in mind to go around the house or apartment to check on the condition and durability of the locks on each door, especially the windows and the balcony (if it has one). Spot for any security systems like alarms, and ask your landlord if the property has been broken in before by burglars (or death, for those of you who are superstitious). If the agent or the landlord seem nonchalant about it, then don’t be shy to ask the neighbors. Besides, then you get to know who your neighbors are and if they are friendly.
There are probably many more important things to lookout for when you are renting a home, therefore, always remember to make your own check list when you are going for a viewing. Remember that you are doing it because you will be making a home out of it for the next few years.