When you're renting your first home there are a lot of things to take into account. Since you're entering into a legal agreement and spending a lot of money, you need to be sure that you understand what you're committing to. You also want to pick a place that you feel comfortable in. Here are some points to remember when renting your first home …
When renting your first home, it's very important to be aware of potential scams. Unfortunately there are some very unscrupulous people who make money from desperate house-hunters. Check that the person renting the home out actually has the right to do so, and never hand over money without seeing the place and checking their credentials. And if a property seems an amazing bargain, it's too good to be true.
Also consider what you can afford to pay in rent. It's generally considered that you should pay not more than one-third of your take-home salary in housing costs. Don't take on a rent that is too high, as you will have other costs to take into account, such as gas, electric and food.
Which location do you want to live in? You may like the idea of living in the city center, but that probably won't be affordable unless you share a home. You will get far more for your money in suburbs, small towns and rural areas. However, if you work unsociable hours and live in the center, living closer to work will make commuting much easier.
If you want to rent a larger apartment that you can share, check if you will be allowed to sublet a room. Also consider that if the lease and bills are in your name, you will be responsible for paying them. You may have to chase up your roommate for their share of the rent and bills.
If you find a home that you want to rent and are accepted as a tenant, always read the contract thoroughly before signing it. Be sure you understand all the terms and conditions. How long is the contract for, is there a break clause (which allows you to break the lease) and how much notice do you need to give when you want to leave?
Renting a home is expensive, and there are a number of costs you'll have to pay before you even move in. The deposit can be quite substantial (normally one or two months' rent), and you'll also have to pay agency fees unless you are dealing directly with the landlord. You may also be required to provide a guarantor for the rent if you don't have a secure job or good credit rating.
Finally, ask lots of questions before you commit yourself to renting a place. Talking to the neighbors can be useful to find out what the area is like and if there are any problems in the building. Renting is a commitment, even if it's not as big a deal as buying, so you should have as much information as possible.
It's very exciting moving into your first rented home, but keep a cool head and understand the commitment you're making. Would you rather rent or buy your own home?
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