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11 Bases to Cover Before Signing That Lease

things you should know before signing a lease

“I was stepping up into what was to be my very first college apartment with my future roommates. It was gorgeous: high ceilings, huge bedrooms, a sunny porch for flowers, we could see ourselves there immediately. Although we needed more time to think about this major decision, our landlord telling us that there were many applications already filled out by other people made us anxious, so we signed. It wasn’t until problems starting coming up, such as a major mice problem and lack of consistent heat once winter came around, did we realize that we may have missed out on some important knowledge early on.”

This story is not unusual by any means. The excitement of being in a newly rented home can oftentimes overshadow important questions to ask the landlord before you sign. To avoid the headache of realizing what you should have asked earlier, we have compiled a master list of topics to cover before you make your decision.

  1. Quality of cell-phone signal

    Try to text and make a phone call while you are viewing the property. Signal going in and out? You may have to compromise your coverage, which for many people is a no-go.

  2. Number of working electrical outlets

    Although newer homes have more outlets, oftentimes older homes can have as little as one plug per room. Figure lighting and necessary electronics before you wish you had.

  3. Water pressure

    No one likes a weak shower. Test out the quality of water pressure and how quickly it takes to heat up.

  4. Noise

    Ask the landlord about neighbor’s noise as well as outside noise. If you’re up against a busy street, traffic noise or sirens may be unavoidable.

  5. Windows

    Does the home have an adequate number of opening windows for fresh airflow?

  6. Amenities

    Are you going to be carrying your sack of laundry to the corner coin laundry shop? Are there any perks to living in the home such as a pool or a gym?

  1. Deliveries

    Depending on the safety of the neighborhood, stoop deliveries may be fine. However, if you’re stuck waiting for an expensive package (or it never shows up) you may have to figure out an alternative mailing solution.

  2. Heating situation

    Gas, electric or radiator? Some are more expensive than others and can factor greatly into your utility costs.

  3. Deposits/non-returnable fees

    Most rented properties require a deposit for potential damages done to the home. Ask your landlord the specifics about deposits and homeowner’s insurance.

  4. Sublets

    If someone decides to rent out their room for the summer, make sure it is allowed by the landlord and the lease terms to avoid conflict.

  5. Maintenance requests

    Does the landlord handle maintenance themselves, or do they hire outside services? How long does it take to get repairs completed? These are questions to ask now before you’re stuck without a running shower for three days (P.U.).

Want more homebuying advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all of your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a free Ready Report that is personalized based upon the information that you entered. This report will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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