Searching for a rental can be stressful, especially if you are looking at competitive housing markets like Boston and New York. Based on the issues we’ve seen our renters encounter, we’ve compiled a list of tips to ensure your home search goes smoothly – before and after signing the lease.
- Choose a location that works for your life.
Location, location, location! Unnecessarily lengthy commutes can be miserable. Overpaying and being overextended financially in order to be right in the middle of things can also be unpleasant. Try to find a place that is the right mix of close by and financially manageable.
- Have your deposit and application supporting documents ready to go. Most times you’ll need a copy of your photo ID, your two most recent pay stubs, references, available funds for a deposit, and your credit will likely be pulled as a part of the vetting process.
- Authenticate the people that you’re working with. Ask them for their full name and real estate license number. Go to the division of professional licensure to verify that they are a licensed real estate salesperson or broker. Go on their brokerage’s website to make sure they are listed as an active associate. If you are dealing with the property owner directly, verify that they are the owner of record for the property. Don’t fall for fraudulent real estate ads or send any money until you are 100% certain that you are dealing with the correct people. Trust your instincts. If you feel you are not being given all of the details or if a story doesn’t seem to add up, it should be a big red flag that this person is not being honest in their dealings with you.
- Get everything in writing. Don’t assume that something mentioned to an agent during the showing has been appropriately communicated to all parties involved. Memorialize all relevant verbal communications in a follow-up email or on the lease agreement when possible. Get receipts for any deposits and/or payments.
- Ask that agreed-upon repairs be completed ahead of move-in or shortly after. You do have a right to peaceful enjoyment in a habitable rental unit, so don’t give up that right. Set a deadline for the repairs agreed upon. You lose a lot of leverage to negotiate the repairs once you have begun paying rent, so don’t be afraid to hold back rent until agreed-upon repairs are completed.
- Purchase renter’s insurance. Don’t count on your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance policy covering your losses due to theft, fire, flood, or other damage to the building. A renters’ insurance policy will cover your personal belongings replacement, your relocation costs, and even cover your liability if you’re sued by someone who claims to have been injured in your rental unit.
- Read your lease carefully. Are your pets allowed? Which utilities are included? When does rent commence? Are you allowed to make alterations or installations? Is the included parking spot mentioned in your showing written into the lease? When do you need to notify your landlord of your intentions to renew? Is subletting allowed?
Watch this video from our BC student partner, Belle Smith, for some more rental tips and tricks.
Feeling overwhelmed? That’s what we’re here for! By working with a licensed real estate agent, most of your work is already sorted for you. Get in touch with one of our experienced real estate associates today and take the first step toward your new home. Contact our team at 617.314.9400 or via our website.