Red Flags to Look for When Exploring Rental Homes

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As is the case when searching for any kind of residence, there are a lot of factors to consider when seeking out the right rental home. Whereas some rental homes will prove accommodating on every level, others will leave a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, even when some of us think we’re getting the former, we ultimately wind up with the latter. To help ensure that you don’t get stuck with a lemon of a rental home, keep an eye out for the following red flags. 

Inconvenient Location 

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering why real estate professionals are so fond of the mantra “Location, location, location,” it’s because a home’s location is often regarded as a bigger selling point than the condition of the property or any amenities featured therein. Furthermore, there’s a very good reason for this. Since people are naturally drawn to areas with robust job markets, ample shopping options, amazing nightlife and good schools, it should come as no surprise that rental rates in these areas tend to be higher than rents in less popular areas.

Of course, you’ll also need to consider just how convenient – or inconvenient – the location of a rental home is to you personally. For example, if a home you’re thinking about renting is located a fair distance from your place or business or local centers of commerce, you may want to think twice before signing a lease. While your monthly rent is likely to be on the low side, a lengthy commute coupled with a lack of immediate access to grocery stores, restaurants and other essential businesses may not be worth saving a little on rent each month. Lone Star State rental home seekers would do well to remember this when exploring Austin rental homes

Unaddressed Maintenance Issues 

One of the best things about renting over buying is not having to pay for maintenance issues to be addressed. As anyone who’s owned an older home can attest, repairs and renovations can bleed your finances dry, especially if they pile up. However, if your landlord is unable or unwilling to address certain maintenance issues, you may find yourself renting a home with limited habitability. 

With this in mind, make sure to never rent a home that you haven’t seen in person – or, at the very least, haven’t received a detailed virtual tour of. No matter how impressive photos of the property look, it’s possible they were taken at a much earlier date or have been altered to hide various issues with the home. You should also start looking for good renters insurance policies, since you won’t be able to use a homeowners insurance policy for a rental home.  

In addition to touring the home, make a point of recording any maintenance issues – or potential maintenance issues you come across. Once you’ve finished your inspection, bring any issues you recorded to the attention of the landlord and request that they be addressed in advance of you moving in. You may even want to consider making the fixing of these issues a perquisite of your tenancy.   

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The Landlord Has Received Overwhelmingly Negative Feedback 

Just as landlords thoroughly screen prospective renters, so too should renters screen prospective landlords. Fortunately, finding online feedback for both landlords and property management companies couldn’t be easier in the digital age. While most landlords are bound to have a few negative reviews – especially if they own multiple properties – you should steer clear of anyone who’s garnered overwhelmingly negative feedback. If the vast majority of the feedback you come across portrays a landlord as lazy, indifferent or impossible to reach, you should be extremely wary of renting from them. 

You should avoid landlords who attempt to make you sign incomplete leases or actively downplay problems with the property. If this is the way they’re acting at the outset, it’s generally a safe bet that they’re not going to be a great landlord.   

When seeking out the right rental home, it pays to do your homework. As any seasoned renter knows, there’s often a stark disconnect between the way properties are presented by their respective owners and what they’re actually like. Additionally, failing to keep an eye out for the red flags discussed above can pave the way for a host of undesirable consequences down the line. So, if you’re currently on the hunt for the ideal rental home, remember to watch for red flags and do your own research.  

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