Before You Rent a House: 4 Things to Consider
If you are thinking about renting a house, you may first want to consider some factors that may differ from apartment rentals. From potentially higher expenses to more maintenance, here are four things to keep in mind before renting a house.
1. Outdoor Maintenance
A perk to renting a house is that you’ll likely also have a yard. Keep in mind, though, that you may be responsible for routine upkeep of the lawn and landscaping. For instance, you may be tasked with mowing the grass, trimming the bushes and weeding the gardens, says Landlordology. Your lease should specify whether you or your landlord are responsible for yard maintenance. As a house renter, you may also be responsible for shoveling the driveway and walkways. What kind of outdoor maintenance you’re responsible for may be based on the terms of your lease as well as local and state laws, Landlordology says.
2. Utility Bills
While the cost of renting an apartment may include some or all utilities, house renters may have to set up their own utility accounts and cover those expenses in addition to the monthly rent bill. Utility costs can vary based on a number of factors, such as the size of the home and your use of hot water, the furnace and air conditioning, ForRent.com says. Check your lease to make sure you know whether utility costs will be paid by you or your landlord, Consumer.gov suggests.
If you have a pet, you’ll want to make sure your rental provides enough space. If your dog is used to having plenty of room, consider whether an apartment will provide enough room for it to roam around, ForRent.com suggests. Some apartments don’t allow pets, and those that do may charge additional monthly fees or have restrictions based on the size and breed, Rent.com adds. A rented house may come with similar restrictions and fees — that will vary by landlord. A house may also offer more space for your pet and even a backyard for it to play in. Read your lease carefully before you sign to learn about any terms and conditions regarding pets.
You’ll also want to be aware of whether your potential rental provides space to park your car, how many vehicles it allows and the location of the spots. For instance, if you rent an apartment, you may need to park on the street or in a parking garage (perhaps for an additional fee). Meanwhile, if you rent a single-family home in the suburbs, it will likely come with a driveway and even a private garage.
You may find a number of differences between renting a house and renting an apartment. If you’re looking for the living space, storage and privacy a rented home may offer, be sure to consider factors like your overall budget and property maintenance before deciding whether renting a house makes sense for you.
Originally published on June 21, 2013.