Give investment tips and advice.

Here's How to Find a Rental Property That Suits Your Budget

How to Find a Rental Property that Suits Your Budget
Finding an appropriate rental property takes a lot of planning, investigation, and scrutiny; not to mention, a massive amount of time―any kind of rush can lead to issues, and cost you money. This WealthHow post throws some light on how to go about finding a rental property that suits your budgetary needs.
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
When it comes to determining a budget for your rental property, know that it must be inclusive of the additional costs and expenses. The monthly utility bills, tax, repairs, and the like, should be included while calculating the budget limit.
Although you might find numerous advertisements―be it on the internet or in person―of rental properties that "claim" to be the best among the rest, the reality stands afar. First off, getting a perfect accommodation on rent with the perfect amenities, first-class functionality, ideal location, while being well within the budget, would need a lot of patience and smartness. Therefore, there are two things that you must have with you―time and flexibility.

The market will give you innumerable options of varied ranges. The whole point of setting a fixed budget is to know your search zone. Speaking of zone, the area where you plan to live plays a crucial role in determining your budget. Other factors, such as the kind of property you need, the amenities and facilities you seek, and the duration of stay, should also be taken into consideration. All these points, and more, are discussed in the following sections to ensure that you get the best within your decided monetary range.
Some Useful Advice for Finding an Affordable Rental
Note that the points mentioned below are suggested while keeping the budgetary limitations in mind; however, understand that budget should not be the only factor that determines your selection. The following points will make this statement clear.
Area of Living
City map with navigation
Do you want to stay in the same area, or are you planning to move to an all-new locality? The advantage you have for living in a familiar area is that you would most likely be aware of the local real estate agents who will be able to help you. Also, because you aren't a newbie in the locality, chances are that you'll be aware of the people, amenities, rent rates, and legal taxes that apply there. If you are moving to a new locality, ensure that it is not an isolated one. Meaning, it should have necessary amenities such as shopping center, local market, schools, hospitals, banks, gas stations, train stations, bus stops, and the like, within reach. Not to mention, your workplace shouldn't be so far that commuting becomes tiring.

Another facet to this point is to also scrutinize the crime rates in the locality. There is no point in getting a cheap rental, only to find out that your safety is at risk. In that case, even if you need to pay a few dollars extra for a safe neighborhood, you will still be a winner. If you are a bachelor and don't mind the distance, then being flexible about the area of stay may help you cut some costs on the rent, which we think, will be used up by the commuting expenses.
Kind of Property
What kind of property do you need? A shared room, a full apartment, or a condo? The nature of accommodation and its size, along with the facilities you seek―parking space, indoor swimming pool, backyard, furnishings, etc.,―would know how much funds you'll need to pool. If you are not rigid when it comes to the additional facilities, you may be able to save some dollars. For instance, take the parking space, instead of opting for personal car parking space, check if you can park your car in the surroundings without any potential risk. Also, it would be pointless to go for a furnished flat if you have your own furniture. However, if you don't, opting for a furnished house would save you the hassle and the money to invest in furniture and household appliances. Therefore, analyze all your options, and make possible adjustments if you can.
Strategies for Search
Real estate
After careful analysis of the aforementioned factors, comes the time to finally begin your search. The fastest and the easiest way is to start online. There are various websites including Rent, Realtor, and Craigslist, that allow you to perform a custom search for properties. Filters including the area, kind of property, and budget range, make it easier for users to browse through the various options. To check if the rent demanded is feasible or a total rip off, you can access another website called Rentometer. This website matches the rent of the questioned property with other similar holdings and gives you a fair idea―whether you're paying too much or too less. Either ways, you should be cautious. Too low a rent may signify a potential problem with the space. Signing up for email alerts of these domains will help you keep a track of the new options, before others get a chance to grab them.

You can also use the print media to advertise your needs. Placing ads in local newspapers, and getting in touch with local realty agents who can offer their services and look for a suitable place, can be considered. Try going social with this news. Post your needs on Facebook and Twitter. Try telling your friends, family, and neighbors to see if they could give you some helpful contacts.
Examination of Property
Shopping home
When it comes to examining the properties that seem to be worth a visit, ensure that you visit them more than once! The agents or the property owners usually try to rush the process of showing potential renters the living space. What seems to be perfect from the outside may have hidden flaws. You must ensure that you examine the property carefully and take your own time; no one can stop you from doing so. Test the flooring, taps, windows, flushes, fixtures and fittings, appliances (if any), and the like. Ask if the house has problems related to leakage, mold, or any other thing that you should be aware of. It would be advisable to see if all the facilities given―washing machine, fans, air conditioner, lights, doorbell, etc.,―are in working condition. If you feel that some area(s) need to be repaired, inform the owner/agent beforehand. The last thing you want is to find these flaws after you've moved in, with the burden to bear the expenses for repair work. Try to pay attention to details. If need be, visit more than once, at different times of the day to analyze the property. Try to explore the neighborhood as well, and see if you get a positive vibe about it.
Terms and Conditions of Contract
Before signing the contract, it is imperative to discuss with the owner of the property regarding certain aspects of the agreement. An example for the same would be to directly ask the owner if there are any additional costs you should be aware about. Also, what would be his take on the deposit amount? Would everything be refunded at the end of the contract, or would there be any deductions? Would the house be clean and fully repaired before you move in? What are the policies if the contract was to be terminated, in case you had to leave the place due to any reason? If your lease agreement is for a couple of years, understand the policies for rent increment―would the owner be increasing it every year? If yes, then at what rate?

Ask as many questions as you'd like. If you have pets in the house, inform the owner beforehand to know his take on this. Many homeowners do not entertain tenants with pets. All that has been discussed, and which seems to be of crucial importance, should be clearly mentioned in the contract. Consider this document to be a supportive evidence if (God forbid) any conflict takes place during the tenancy. Therefore, make sure that all the parties involved are on the same page, and everything mentioned in the contact is in the best interest of those involved.
If you wish, you can also try to negotiate the rent rates with the landlord. Though it is unlikely that he or she would agree to it, but if you are confident of your negotiating skills and charm, you may give it a shot. A reduction of even 10 or 20 dollars would save quite an amount in the long run.