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Looking to find a high-quality rental property you’ll be able to turn into a home? Good. Whether this is your first or last rental experience, keep the below in mind before you sign the lease.
What to Check on a Rental Property When Hunting for a Good Living Unit?
People who decide to rent rather than buy a property should be cautious about these top 5 crucial specifics:
Budget plays a real role in most rental property hunting exploits. To spare yourself the disappointment, conduct a bit of online research to get an idea of typical rental rates. Also, talk to rental companies in the area. Don’t get carried away with units that look good online but are priced too low. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Professional photos of a rental property are great, but are they the reality? Always arrange to see the property in-person to check on potential cosmetic and more significant issues. Also, look for health and safety issues such as water damage, bug problems, leaky faucets, etc. You don’t want to end up with a property that hasn’t been adequately maintained for a while.
A good landlord means good life. Meet with your potential lessor on several instances to see if you vibe well. You want someone honest, with a mild temper, a sense of boundaries, and good ethics. If you are renting through a rental agency, ask more about your potential landlord.
Before signing the lease, have your lawyer or a local realtor look over it to make sure it’s:
- A real, standard lease with no surprises
Go over the lease to be sure of things like:
- If it’s a 6-month, one year or month-to-month type of lease
- When monthly rent due
- Is your deposit refundable
- Are roommates & subletting allowed
- Who is responsible for the maintenance
- What utilities you are responsible for covering and if any of the utilities are included in the rent
Walk/drive around the neighborhood to get a sense of the community. Spend some time in that location to get a better idea of the area’s demographics and the general age of its inhabitants. Check rentals reviews of the location. You also want to investigate the area’s safety record, traffic or parking regulations, and its overall dynamics.
Quality and Price Ratio for Rental Properties... What Should You Know?
If you’ve never before invested in a rental property but are now considering it as the best way to expand your investments and secure cash flow for the future, here are 2 formulas you should know:
The One Percent Rule
The One Percent Rule comes down to a simple equation: If the rent before expenses (the gross monthly rent) equals at least 1% of the purchase price, it’s a good investment to look further into. Otherwise, it’ll usually be skipped.
For example, a $300,000 property would need to rent for $3,000 per month to be considered a good investment, per One Percent Rule. However, it usually depends on the buyer whether they’ll make any rental price tweaks and other changes.
The Cap Rate
The first thing to do is to calculate the cap rate, i.e., the rate of return you’ll make on a property in case you buy it cash.
Net income : asset cost = cap rate
E.g.: You buy a home for $200,000.
It rents for $1,500 per month.
Your expenses (insurance, taxes, management, maintenance, repairs) average out to $500 per month, with the escrowed sum for taxes and insurance included and principal and interest payments on your mortgage excluded.
With your "net operating income" $1,000 per month, or $12,000 per year, your cap rate is $12,000 / $200,000 = 0.06, or 6%
It is up to you to decide if you are okay with this percentage. Plus, you can always talk to an honest rental company with good rating to help out.
What Renters Like and Dislike about a Rental Property?
Going through numerous rentals reviews and gathering apartment rental complaints, we put together a list of the most common renters’ likes and dislikes for you to check out:
Among the top 12 things renters like about a rental property are:
- Great location rating
- Good safety and security
- Move-in ready condition
- School district
- Appliances included
- Strategic/high-quality upgrades and renovations
- Storage (i.e., basement)
- A cooperative and honest landlord
- Real (i.e., genuine) house rental reviews
Speaking of dislikes when renting a property, things are pretty clear in that domain, too. Good tenants and serious renters dislike:
- Being disturbed by inconsiderate neighbors and/or landlords as well as unforeseen constructions and repairs, either in their units or common areas
- Having no place to park, even though agreed that there is a spot secured per every apartment.
- Landlords who respond slowly to repair requests/complaints or ignore them altogether
- Being kept in the dark by their landlords (i.e., failing to receive early notice on changes in the apartment complex, repairs, events, etc.)
- Feeling unsafe due to low security in their apartment complex despite being promised proper security
- Being unappreciated or put under the impression that they can be thrown out of the apartment at any moment
- Landlords who increase rent without a previous notice
What Are the Most Practical Features a Rental Property Should Have?
Based on house rental reviews and most common renters’ requirements, these two stand out:
No matter how gorgeous your rental property is, if it doesn’t fit your lifestyle it’s not worth the enthusiasm (or money!). So, when choosing a rental apartment, here are a few things to consider:
- Do you need an elevator?
- Do you need a doorman or extra security?
- Is there a washing machine and dryer in your apartment building?
- Does the apartment have a dishwasher?
- Are there shops/markets/restaurants in the neighborhood?
If you’re on a tight budget, there’ll have to be some adjustments, for sure. Hire a rental company to help you out.
You can’t put a price on feeling safe in your own home, can you? Landlords should make sure the properties they are renting have any (or all) of the following:
- A new door with a better lock system
- Security cameras
- Security in the building
- Alarm systems, per living unit