Finding a house to rent can be more challenging than just renting an apartment. There aren't as many rental houses on the market as apartments, and people who need to rent their homes can be very choosy about who gets to stay there. Planning, networking and sticking to your guns about your needs will help you find a house that you truly want to live in.
Prepare for Your Search
Decide how much space, both living and storage, you need. Knowing this helps you to narrow your search.
Determine your location needs: Do you want to remain in the same school district? Are some parts of town better for public transportation? Are there business and services (such as grocery stores) that you want to be able to walk to?
Consider other factors such as your pet's needs (Do you need a backyard?), and whether you want a furnished or unfurnished house.
Set your budget. Most house rentals will not include utilities, so be sure to include utility costs.
Pull your credit report. Many landlords want to check your credit, and you don’t want any nasty surprises.
Network to Find a Home
Let your friends, family and co-workers know you are looking for a house to rent. They may know someone who needs or wants to rent their home.
Check both online and offline advertising sites as well as offline sources. Laundromats, cafes, libraries and grocery stores often have community bulletin boards where landlords post homes for rent.
Contact local real estate agencies. Sometimes sellers need to rent their homes if they can’t sell them right away.
Post a “housing wanted” ad on Craigslist or another online service. Include information about yourself, your family, as well as details about the kind of housing you need. Many landlords read those ads and will only contact you if they think they can meet your needs.
Apply for Your Rental House
Narrow down the houses that interest you, and arrange to meet the landlord and inspect the property.
Review the lease terms prior to applying for the home. Leases for houses may have different terms than leases for apartments. For example, a house lease may require the renter to perform regular maintenance on the property, such as mowing the lawn or shoveling sidewalks.
Address any concerns (repairs needed to the house or its appliances, average utility bills, etc.) about the house with the landlord prior to signing a lease. Never sign a lease until all requested repairs and changes have been made.
If you rent a home that the owners are trying to sell, you will have to be flexible about scheduled showings to potential buyers. Make sure you have a clause in your lease that gives you time to find a new place and move if the home sells.
- If you rent a home that the owners are trying to sell, you will have to be flexible about scheduled showings to potential buyers. Make sure you have a clause in your lease that gives you time to find a new place and move if the home sells.
Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.