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Free Access: Real Talk Real Estate: Three things every renter should know before moving in

Flexibility is key when searching for the perfect new home to rent. You may have your heart set on a location or some specific attributes of a house, but you may have to sacrifice some things.

As someone who recently moved into their first rental home, I learned that flexibility and sacrifice are something anyone searching to rent will have to come to terms with. Nothing plays out exactly how you may have it mapped out in your mind and it’s important to accept this reality early on, so you don’t feel blindsided when most of your housing options don’t feature all of your wish-list items.

Another thing that is easy to overlook when renting, especially for first-time renters, is how much your expenses will truly cost. When looking for houses to rent on applications like Zillow and Trulia, you see estimates on monthly rent prices, but what you can’t see and what the estimate does not include is all the other expenses.

When you’re renting, you have to take all your household necessities, like water, power, sewage, trash, cable/internet, and everything else you or your family may need, into account when considering how much you’ll be paying each month. Your rent is just the majority of your monthly cost; all your utilities add up, and quickly.

So make sure when choosing the perfect house for you and your family to rent, that you’re not choosing a rent price that sits at the top of your budget.

My final tidbit of advice to renters is the one that affected me the most when I moved into my first rental: a move-in inspection.

Do a move-in inspection of your rental home to make sure you’re not charged for damage you didn’t create.

Make sure when you’re viewing the house in person for the first time, before making any final decisions, that you fully look at every little thing in that house. You may become overly excited when viewing the house because it seems perfect! And it ticks off all your wish list boxes! But, one of my most valuable pieces of advice is to make sure you become well versed in the flaws of the house: Construction flaws, utility and power sources, all the little dents and scratches, and minor blemishes.

If you see nothing majorly concerning during your first walkthrough and choose to move forward, make sure you still do a move-in inspection. Document all the imperfections you see and every blemish that came with the house, so that at the end of your lease, your landlord does not try to hold you accountable for the damage you did not create. Do everything you can to ensure you can get your security deposit back and not end up owing your landlord more money as you move out.

All in all, renting can be an extremely easy and pleasant experience, as long as you take these key aspects of renting into account and consider them during your search. It will make the process much more enjoyable and hassle-free. Happy renting!

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