Renter’s Guide to Finding the Right Property

Renting properties is a common practice in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that as of 2010, over 33 percent of Americans rent their place of residence. When you look for a rental property, you look for a place you are comfortable; a place to call home. To find that ideal property, you must look for certain key features in a rental home.


Before viewing properties to rent, you must first decide where, geographically, you want to live. You may already know your ideal location. But if not, conduct research on some locations that interest you. Examine the school system ratings, the mean income and the climate of the locations that interest you. Plan a day or weekend trip to your places of interest and walk around grocery stores, malls and other public places to determine whether or not you would feel comfortable running errands in that specific location. The neighborhood in which your property is located is also relevant in your decision making. Do your neighbors keep their yards attended to? Do they wave when you drive by?


Once you have found your ideal location, find a property within your price range. Generally you should stay within the one-third price range — that is, your rent should be less than one-third of your household income. This range is merely an estimate that many landlords and property managers use to determine whether or not a tenant can afford a property. If you have an excessive amount of debt, you may want to find a more inexpensive property. But, you know your financial situation better than anyone and are in the best position to determine what you can and cannot afford.


It helps to make a clear and concise list of the amenities you would like to have in your rental property. It is unlikely that you will find the perfect rental property within your price range that includes every amenity you desire. So on your list; you can rate your amenities in order of their importance. This way, you can determine in advance which amenities you are willing to sacrifice to live in that neighborhood you love, or to receive a cheaper rent.

Terms of Lease

Decide beforehand how long you are planning to stay in your rental property. Are you looking for a six month lease, a year or longer? If you are aware of this decision before you begin looking for your property, you can negotiate with a landlord or property manager to reduce or extend the terms of a lease. If you find landlords who are unwilling to negotiate, you can rule out those properties.

Landlord or Property Manager

The qualities of your landlord or property manager are also relevant in your decision making. Most tenants seek landlords who are diligent and responsible, but not overbearing. That balance is important in a landlord as most people want a landlord who will fix a problem immediately, but do not want a landlord who will visit the property on a weekly basis. The landlord’s flexibility is also a relevant factor. You may want a landlord who will allow you to make minor changes or repairs to the property or, you may not want to make any changes. You can determine the qualities of your landlord by simply asking her; the conversation should also help you determine whether or not you and the landlord have the potential for a successful business relationship.

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