It's been a long while since I have blogged. It has been a busy time full of new projects, new designers and new adventures. I was thinking of a new blog post today and after sharing some juicy of nuggets about renting a house to my boyfriend I thought what a perfect post.
In college I had my own apartment, I didn't want to be smashed in student housing so I had to figure something out. I went to work for an apartment community thus getting about 50% off of rent and being able to afford living. I learned a lot working there, from leases to rules to what rights you had.
After purchasing my own home and then turning it in to a rental property I learned even more about being a landlord. Then in the last 5 years I have moved every year in to new condos – just being able to be so nomadic has been a lot of fun. I've rented from good and bad owners and good and bad rental management company's.
Below is my list of items that you should keep in mind and ask about before renting a home and sometimes even a condo:
- When was the last time the A/C/Heater was serviced? If it been a year, request it be done prior to you moving in.
- How old is the water heater? Have the elements been replaced if it is older and has it been drained recently? If not, have them do it before you move in.
- When are trash days and recycle days? It's a small ticket item but important to know
- Who handles landscaping? If you are looking at a place with a lot of yard – trees, grass etc. You will be responsible for the up keep of it and probably be charged if it doesn't look perfect when you leave. Consider asking the owner if they will pay for landscaping or you split the cost with them.
- How often has the house had pest control? Have there been any problems? In Az scorpions are a big question. Request a full spray inside and out before you move in. Most of the time you are responsible for pest control, but it's always nice to get a good spray in before your stuff gets moved in.
- Who do you call for maintenance and what is the turnaround time? What is considered an emergency? Also find out what you are responsible for, if there is a home warranty many times you pay the service fee. Find out if it is something bad and you have to get it fixed how reimbursement works.
- Take a while with your move-in checklist. If you have 5 days to turn it in, take 4. Really live in the place and look high and low for any issues. Make sure the big stuff you notate but also call to get fixed. Anything new can come out of your deposit
- Request a walk through prior to signing the lease, make sure it is how you want it or if something needs to get fixed they fix it. Once you sign the lease you are responsible for it and it can be more difficult to get items taken care of.
- If you have a dog, find out about neighbor complaints and how they are verified. You don't want to get in trouble for a barking dog but you also don't want to deal with a neighbor that just hates dogs.
- Utilities: who pays for water/sewer/trash? Who is electricity through? Is there gas?
- Is there an HOA? Get there rules as well, to make sure you have no violations
- When you find out who electric is through – call them up to see what the average utility bills are – in AZ they are high in summer so you want to see if you can not only afford rent but afford utilities. Many times you can also go on the equalizer plans, even if you haven't lived there for a year yet, they go off of the previous tenants. Sometimes it too high and not worth it, other times it's totally worth it.
- Have the locks been changed? Can you get the house re-keyed. If it's been a rental for a while you want to make sure you and the owner are the only ones with keys. If anything, see about an alarm.
The biggest question to ask, especially now, is if it is a home if it is in good standing and the owner is paying the mortgage and will continue to pay the mortgage. Many times renters are moving in to homes and then getting a letter from the bank they need to move out. You want to make sure that nothing like that happens and it is a good relationship.
Hopefully this has helped! I also have some quick moving and packing tips:
Purge, I am a fan of selling my furniture/stuff on craigs list and buying new furniture, I like fresh starts. When that isn't the case, start tossing stuff you really don't need, it feels good! When in doubt try and sell it any way – you would be amazed what people are looking to buy!
When packing dishes, wrap them up in your towels, curtains and sheets. You have to pack them any way, might as well serve as dish protectants too.
Movers are excellent to hire – if you do make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured. My trick for making sure they take care of your stuff and hustle (you are paying by the hour) – buy them breakfast burritos and supply them with a cooler of bottled water.
NThreeQ Media, LLC