Fundamentals of Renting a House

Are you getting ready to rent a house? If so, have you thought about what you should look for? Do you know what questions you should ask your potentially new landlord? And, finally, how exactly should you rent that house? These are all good questions that we are going to answer in this article.

What is the most important thing that you should look for when renting a house? It’s a simple answer and you have heard it before – location, location, location. Not only is this important when you are buying a home, but also when you are renting.

If you live in one location and you have to travel a long distance to get to work, you probably won’t be happy. Or, if you have children and they go to public schools, then you want to be sure that you rent a house that is in a good school district. Or, perhaps on your leisure time you like to spend your time fishing. Then, being close to a good watering-hole is important. Location, location, location,…it’s so important!

Another important factor to consider is cost. Rent and utilities should not exceed 36% of your total income. Renting a nice home is important, but don’t let it financially ruin you.

After you have found a house that is for rent in a suitable location and at a cost that you can afford, there are some important questions that you need to ask your potential landlord. Questions such as:

1. How long does the landlord intend to rent the house?

2. How long will the current rate of rent be guaranteed for?

3. Can they estimate how much the next increase in rent will be?

4. Are pets permitted? If so, what type of pets and are there any size or weight limitations?

5. Who is responsible for maintaining the landscape?

6. If painting is required, will the landlord provide the labor and materials?

7. Can the landlord provide an estimate on electrical, gas, sewage, and garbage costs?

8. Can the landlord provide you any details about neighbors that live in the area?

9. Is a security deposit required and, if so, how much?

10. Does your initial payment include first and last month’s rent or just the first month’s rent?

These are important questions to ask your future landlord. Their answers will help you to determine your initial investment and your future costs. These answers will also help you decide how cooperative your future landlord may be. Don’t hesitate to ask these questions.

Renting a house is quite a process. Once you have found a house that meets all of your expectations, then you need to sign a contract with your new landlord. But, before doing that, the landlord may ask you to fill out an application. Don’t be surprised if the landlord asks you to do this… the information you provide the landlord will help ensure him that you are a suitable renter.

The landlord must provide you a contract to sign. If he does not have one, he can buy one from Office Depot or he can secure one from his real estate agent. It’s the landlords responsibility to provide you that written contract and don’t rent a house without that contract.

Once the landlord has provided you a contract to sign, it’s in your best interest to have someone to thoroughly review that contract before you sign it. This person might be a real estate attorney or a close family member that has experience in contracts. Make sure that every word of the contract is reviewed.

Renting a house does not sound complicated, and it’s really not. Just be sure that you cover the above fundamentals and you should be safe. Good luck on finding that house that you are looking to rent!

Tips to Consider Before You Opt for a Short Term Rental

If you are going to take a vacation in the near future, we suggest that you consider a short-term rental service. You will have a lot of options to choose from. Usually, these homes have all that you need to spend your vacation comfortably. Read on to find out more.

Nowadays, economic circumstances have lead people to opt for short-term rentals. Aside from individuals, companies have made changes to how they work. In other words, their employees have to go to different sites from time to time. In the same way, tenants have similar needs to meet.

You can find a lot of letting agencies that offer short-term rentals. This helps tenants find an accommodation that has all the required facilities. Normally, this type of residence has a high standard, which means they have all the stuff you need on a regular basis. The only things you need are your clothes and suitcases.

Now, if you are going to move to another city, make sure you do your homework first. This will help you opt for the best area. If you are moving to another city on work, we suggest that you choose a rental home that is located in that city. This is important to consider because you need a lot of amenities when you are working in a city.

If you are going on a vacation, on the other hand, then your best bet is to find a rental apartment that is located away from the city. No matter which option you opt for, make sure you consider your budget.

Once you have chosen an area, you may want to search for short-term rental service in your desired area. Take a look at different apartments and once you have found one, find out how much it costs. Usually, short-term rentals don’t come with a lot of restrictions. You can get a discount if you are going to stay there for a longer period of time.

If you are an employee, we suggest that you consider company rentals. Usually, they work the same way private rentals work, but they are a bit different from regular rentals. The competition between these providers is stiff as they want to get the best deal. Employees tend to prefer company lets as they have a lot of amenities.

Some short-term rentals are in touch with companies that need shorter lets from time to time. They can be a good option, especially if you have a company.

If you are a leisure traveler, you may want to go for short-term rentals. The reason is that these rentals are properly furnished. They have amazing kitchens that will save you a good deal of money as you won’t have to eat out. Typically, the rental price includes all the charges.

Nowadays, short-term rentals are quite popular. If you are going to move to another city for work or want to go on a vacation, you may want to consider a short-term rental service. Hope, this article will help you choose one easily.

8 Tips to Help You Look For Your Desired Apartment

When you are looking for an apartment, you may want to consider a few important amenities, such as public transportation, in-unit dryer/washer and so on. What you need to do is check out more than one apartment before you decide on one. Since renting an apartment costs a good deal of money, make sure you make this decision after doing your homework. Given below are a few tips that can make your search easier.

1. Set a Budget

Don’t ignore the rental price when you see an apartment that features a big living room, amazing window views and the right location. So, it’s important that you decide on a budget prior to starting your search.

What you need to do is find out what you can afford. For this purpose, you should consider other expenses, such as social activities, gym membership, utilities and groceries.

2. Consider the season

In summer, the rental price may be higher than winter. So, it’s important that you take this factor into account when making a decision. If you are on a budget, we suggest that you look for an apartment in winter months, such as February, March, and December. During these months, the demand is low. So, you can get a better accommodation for a lower price.

3. Make a short list

Although it’s a good idea to visit each place on your list, it can waste a lot of time. There is another time-saving method of achieving the same purpose. You can search for your desired place on the Internet. You can make a short list of apartments and then visit each in person based on your schedule.

4. Get Organized

When looking at several options, it may be hard for you to organize the details, such as contact details, deposit amount, rental rates and other amenities. So, it’s a good idea to put together a spreadsheet.

5. Go See an Apartment with Your Roommate

If you are going to move with a roommate, make sure you take them with you to see a place. This will save you a lot of time. After seeing the house, you can discuss it together, which will make the decision process easier for you.

6. Consider the Public Transportation

When looking for a place, you should consider its proximity to the most important thing: public transportation. This can help you save money on maintenance, car insurance and gas, thus making it easier for you to collect money to pay the monthly rent.

7. Ask About Discounts

Based on the type of residence you want to rent, you may want to benefit from move-in discounts as well. For instance, if you sign up for a year or so, you may get to stay in the apartment for free for the first month.

8. Find out About the Average Energy Costs

Make sure ask about the average energy costs for the apartment. After all, you don’t want to pay half of your salary to cover your energy expenses.

In short, make sure you consider these tips when looking for your desired apartment.

Three Tips For Choosing Student Housing

Packing and leaving for college can be an exciting yet daunting task. For anyone who has not planned ahead, it can also be very stressful, since student housing can be difficult to come by when not secured months before arriving. Fortunately, there may still be some options available.

Special Accommodations For Graduate Students

Staying on campus is a very convenient option, especially for those who enjoy meeting new people. Undergraduates tend to have access to two-person rooms or multi-person room suites that are shared. However, for those who are in a masters or PhD program, there may be options that include special accommodations for more mature individuals who are working toward an advanced degree. This is something to consider when searching for student housing.

Sharing An Apartment Or House

Getting an apartment or house is another option to think about, but it should be considered carefully. First, research the rent cycle of the city by asking those who currently rent in the area. Some areas have high turnover, which can make it easier to get a place. Smaller areas can be more difficult.

Once an apartment or house has been secured, make sure to have roommates who understand the leasing process and are willing and able to pay rent, deposits, and utilities in full and on time each month so not to jeopardize the living situation.

In addition, pay attention to the terms of the lease. Leases are not typically based on semesters. For example, anyone who intends on graduating in December should not sign a lease that lasts until June or July of the following year, as that will leave the rest of the housemates with having to find a new tenant. Conversely, the student who leaves may be responsible for paying the remainder of the lease until it is up if the others on the lease cannot find a roommate.

Research Cost Of Living In Advance

For those moving into an area for the first time, it would be advisable to do some research to see what the cost of living will be. Different areas of the country can be vastly different with regard to student housing costs, utility expenses, and even groceries. When looking at advertisements, check for not only the rent each month, but also how many utilities are included and the remaining cost. Think about whether or not that is affordable.

Moving to college can be a fun and exciting time, but it is important to consider everything that comes along with it. Think about where the best place to live would be based on the budget available. For those interested in on-campus student housing, it is important to research that option, at least one semester in advance, to ensure there is a place available. For off-campus living, be sure to carefully consider cost of living expenses. Also, be sure to choose roommates wisely. Not enjoying the other housemates can lead to a very stressful year.

Eight Tips for Negotiating an Office Lease Renewal

So I’m meeting with our landlord tomorrow to discuss a lease extension, and I’m in the process of pulling together my thoughts on the renewal.

Our office building is owned by a small group of investors, so we have a personal relationship with the owners/landlord. I consulted with several colleagues of mine, and here are our top considerations for effectively negotiating a lease or extension:

1. Be a good tenant

It’s so basic to sound business practices, but it bears repeating, particularly when you’re dealing with individuals and other small business owners. Resolve issues along the way as amicably as possible -it all comes back to you in the end.

2. Start early and understand your options

Particularly in a very tight commercial real estate market, you’ve got to allow at least 9-12 months for the process to play out. It can take several months to research your alternatives, open up negotiations with prospective landlords (especially concerning tenant improvements), and then come back to your current landlord. And you’ll want to allow 2-4 months if you have to plan a move (assuming you’re an SMBE like us).

3. Understand your market, and particularly concessions that new tenants can extract.

While market rental rates are important to understand, there are a number of other considerations new tenants may enjoy, including tenant improvements, rent holidays, and other benefits.

Understanding these will not only give you a sense for what you might expect if you go elsewhere, but it can also help you negotiate your current renewal. Why shouldn’t you enjoy at least part of those benefits on the renewal?

4. Consult with (if not retain) a broker.

I’m a big believer in at least talking to experts in a field, and I generally recommend using them to represent you in a lease negotiation. Depending on the size of your business, this can represent anywhere from a $350k to a multi-million obligation over a 3-5 year period.

Brokers can give you a sense for the market, current conditions, and offer other valuable input. Face it -while you may know your business better than anyone, you’re probably not an expert in commercial real estate.

If you are going to use a commercial real estate broker, I suggest using a tenant only representative, as they are less likely to be conflicted than brokers who may represent either side.

That being said, they are a lot like realtors in that they only get paid when a deal gets done. The good news is they are frequently paid for by the lessor, but that may affect the terms of the deal.

5. Depending on how much leverage you have, work to ‘share the savings’.

Just as you may want to avoid the headaches and costs associated with moving, your landlord may have the same interest. If you’ve been a good tenant and are paying near market rents, the last thing your landlord wants to deal with is several months of vacancy, showing the space, negotiating and paying tenant improvements, and then having to deal with an unknown. So work to value how much benefit each side is getting out of the renewal and see if you can’t find some common ground.

6. Think outside the box and understand your landlord’s situation.

Your landlord is interested in three things – the underlying value of the property, current income/cash flow from the property, and avoiding headaches. Understanding the relative importance of each can be very helpful in your negotiations.

For example, commercial property is essentially valued at a multiple of cash flow (it’s a cap rate if you want to be specific) over a period of time, with an emphasis on future cash flows. If the landlord is thinking about re-financing or selling the property in 2-3 years, she will want to boost the cash flow in that later period. This can provide you with a path to reducing your near term rental outlays in return for increasing the rent at a time when it particularly matters to the landlord.

7. Put together a spreadsheet balancing overall costs for your various rental options

Feel free to let your landlord know you’re doing this, and make sure that you’re getting all the information you need to make a balanced and informed decision.

8. Get your hands on a bunch of actual lease agreements and extensions.

This can help give you ideas for different terms that you might want to incorporate into the lease that you may not have thought of. Of course, if you have representation, you should encourage them to do this -you’d be surprised how often this is overlooked.

There are lots of resources out there for looking at sample and (even more helpful) actual, negotiated lease agreements