According to the Mayflower 2022 Finding Home Study, 64% of those that were part of the survey said that finding the perfect home is a life goal. This goal can be done even if you are a tenant and are in a rental. Taking the journey of moving from place to place is just a smaller step on the grand scale of owning your dream home.
Renting a home instead of owning one does have both its good and bad points. One of the biggest is that you do not build equity in a home when you are just renting. If you are renting, you do have much more flexibility and you can move and walk-away without having to undergo the hassle of selling a home. The one key is to make sure you are moving up, if you are on the rental journey of finding the perfect home. Here are some tips to follow to make sure you are on the right track.
Set Your Goals
First ask yourself what you want most out of your living space. For example if you love the outdoors, you might say your home must have an outdoor living space such as a yard, covered patio or a balcony. If you have a list of ten things, you might not succeed in getting all of them, however, just focus on the top needs on the list to ensure you are on the up and up.
Size and Location
Location can be very important, and the closer you are to the desired spot, the smaller the square footage of what you can afford. If you live in a nice large two bedroom apartment in the suburbs, but want to live in the heart of the city, then you will probably get a studio apartment with the same budget. Ask yourself if this trade-off is worth it to you? If proximity is very important to work, loved ones, or just the city life, then you answer is yes.
With a smaller space and urban setting, privacy can be an issue. If you live close to the nightlife district, then you might want to make sure you can sleep at your place during the weekend. Also, you might be a little closer to your neighbors in a high rise.
Age and Condition
If your dream rental is a nice brand-new luxury high-rise then you need to be ready to pay a pretty penny. If you need space, then renting an older dwelling might have to work or if you like the charm of an old space but want the convenience of a modern kitchen and bathroom, you might have to compromise on one or the other.
If you absolutely need the space and do not mind a date dwelling, then you can ask your landlord if you can spruce the place up yourself. This will mean that you will need to cover the cost yourself and if it is not approved, then you will lose your security deposit.
Services and Amenities
Everyone knows that when you own a home, there are many out-of-pocket expenses and unexpected expenses. If your HVAC breaks, then you are responsible for the repair and the bill. The one good thing about renting is that you do not have to do this, your landlord is responsible for the repair and the costs.
Services and amenities are also different from place to place, so before you sign a lease agreement make sure you know what is and what is not included. For example, in New York City the refrigerator and stove is included in your rental, but in Jersey City, you have to supply your own refrigerator.
Affordability and Cost of Living
The same study done by Mayflower also found that 54% of those who are in the process of moving, blame their move on the inflation levels. When renting, you will not have to worry about expenses such as property taxes. The downside is if you rent and move into an urban area, you will pay more for things like electricity and cable.
In order to make a smart move, you need to be able to pay rent, save and budget for your next big step. You do not want to be cash poor when it comes to your rent. Rent might be in budget in the city, however the cost of living is higher. Before you make a move, check out an online cost of living calculator which can help you determine if it’s the right move budget wise for you.
Last But Not Least, the Lease
The majority of landlords will require a security deposit which is usually the cost of one month’s rent. This deposit is held by the landlord and will only be used to cover any damages that occur while you are a tenant. Also if you have a pet and they are allowed, make sure to pay your pet deposit. Also, check to see if your pet is allowed as there may be a weight limit, limit on number of pets and type of pet.
There are also different lease terms that are out there. A fixed-term lease is usually best for a tenant that is going to stay in one place for a longer period and the rent rate will not fluctuate. A month-to-month is great for those who might have to move at a minute’s notice, and with proper notice there are no penalties but rent can fluctuate from month-to-month. A sublet lease means that you will pay rent and maintain the dwelling, however your name is not on the original lease. A landlord should agree to allow the person who is on the original lease to sublet the space.
Remember renting is a good thing for those who are not settled or do not want to be tied down, but there is nothing like owning a home. If you are in the market for a home, contact your local agent who can help you with the right space and right option for you.