Rental Home FAQ's Tips

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How Can I Learn How to Successfully Rent Real Estate?

How to Learn How to Successfully Rent Real Estate

First-time renters are not the only group that could improve their technique to effectively rent real estate. There are ways to help ensure that your search for rental houses is efficient and successful. Here are some tips to consider.

  • Know what you want. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But many people start a search for rental homes without a clear picture of the rental property they really want. Spend quality time thinking about what size, type, location, amenities, and “feel” you want your new residence to have. After all, you're going to spend 12 to 16 hours there every day.
  • Set a price range that fits your budget. Be firm about this. Don't be “sold” on rental houses that you cannot afford. You're asking for frustration and problems.
  • Have an idea of how long you plan to occupy your new rental property. If you're looking for longer term stability -- one year or longer -- you may want to stay away from rental homes being offered for month-to-month occupancy. Look for attractive rental houses that offer leases.
  • Examine the proposed agreement closely or, better yet, have a real estate or legal professional review the document BEFORE you sign it. Make sure you can abide by all terms and conditions so you'll enjoy your new rental property.
You should also examine the property as closely as you can when physically viewing the home and get a feel for the neighborhood. If you follow these simple tips, you should have a more stress free and successful experience when you rent real estate.

What Is the Best Way to Learn About Rental Houses in the Areas I Want to Live?

Good Ways to Learn About Rental Houses in Areas You Want to Live

A search for rental houses in areas you want is important. Yet it is also time consuming and even frustrating. Unless you're a first-time renter, you've probably already had the uplifting experience of driving around for hours, viewing rental houses you wouldn't consider at half the rental price because they weren't “you.” But fear not. There is a better way.

First, narrow your search on paper. Give thought to those features you must have, those you would like to have, and those that are unimportant to you. Write them down or firmly fix them in your mind. Visualize your next rental property.

Then go to your computer and search rental homes that fit your vision. Using the Internet to focus your search on just the rental homes that match your criteria saves you time pouring over newspaper ads, talking to endless rental agencies, or driving aimlessly in your preferred neighborhoods.

With both text describing features and, often, multiple digital pictures of the actual properties, you'll probably generate a solid list of rental homes you'd consider. Then contact just those landlords or rental agencies offering the rental property in which you have interest. You've saved time, money, and frustration. The odds are favorable that you'll find the right property for you and your family.

What Are Some Primary Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords Regarding Rental Homes?

Some Primary Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords Regarding Rental Homes

Both tenants and landlords have their share of responsibilities after making agreements concerning rental houses. Most are straightforward and logical. Some rental agreements or leases may specify other duties and responsibilities negotiated by the parties, but the following are typically the primary duties of both parties.

Tenant responsibilities:

  • Pay the rent when due and in full. This is a critical responsibility that should be fulfilled at all times. Should problems arise that threaten this duty, inform your landlord immediately and work out some resolution.
  • Maintain your rental property. Assuming your rental home was delivered in a clean and sanitary fashion, maintain its condition and appearance. If repairs are needed, inform your landlord immediately so small problems can be fixed before they become major projects.
  • Keep noise and other neighbor intrusions at a minimum. In addition to keeping your dinner parties focused on dinner and not loud music, this means also resisting the urge to use your vacuum cleaner at 3:30 in the morning or mowing the lawn at 1:00 a.m.
  • Notify your landlord if you'll be away for an extended vacation or other reason . This allows the property owner to check on the property while it is essentially vacant.
Landlord responsibilities:

  • Allow your tenants peace, quiet, and the uninterrupted enjoyment of rental houses. Use your right to gain access wisely and considerately. With the possible exception of rental property emergencies, provide your tenants sufficient notice of your need to enter the rental home.
  • Always comply with building and health codes. In addition to a deteriorating tenant relationship, non-compliance with local codes can become very expensive for you.
  • When repairs are needed, complete them quickly. Being a good landlord also means being a smart landlord. Small repairs, if neglected, tend to become major restoration projects which also tend to be very expensive.
Both parties should be committed to fulfilling all the terms of the rental agreement or lease completely. You've both agreed to them in writing and should be prepared to complete all expected responsibilities.

How Can I Find a Selection of Vacation Rental Homes I Might Like?

How to Find a Good Selection of Vacation Rental Homes

Vacation rental homes continue to increase in popularity and often prove to be a better choice than hotels and resorts. Why? You often have more privacy, room to spread out, more home-like amenities, and the ability to just go to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich instead of waiting for room service. Formerly, finding a good selection of vacation homes was a major problem. Trying to visualize vacation rental homes from many miles away is a real challenge. Sometimes, that fabulous sounding vacation destination that had the water view meant that, if you had a way to get on the roof and hug the chimney, you could see the lake or ocean – on a clear day. Times have changed.

Just get a cup of coffee or a cold drink, crank up your home computer, and go online to view vacation rental homes in the areas of your choice. Not only will you learn all the pertinent details, like price, how many people can sleep there, amenities, when it's available, etc., but you'll often have the ability to view an album of exterior and interior pictures of the rental houses. Hard core visualization is no longer necessary. You might even get a “feel” for the properties and the neighborhood.

When you find one that looks perfect for you, contact the landlord or rental agency and make a deal. While you may be unable to control the weather for your long overdue time off, you can control the quality of your vacation rental homes from the comfort of your full time home.

Why Rent a Home Instead of Buying One?

Why Rent a Home Instead of Buying One

The common “wisdom” is that home ownership is the real American dream. Values escalate and homeowners can enjoy an ever-increasing investment while having a good quality of life. Often, this is an accurate projection. But, as usual, there are no guarantees. The sometimes cruel uncertainties in the real estate market are but one reason to consider rental property along with home ownership.

But the question remains: “Why rent a home instead of buying one?” Here are some reasons that it may make sense to consider rental homes instead of those for sale.

  • Timing issues. For many people, the business of living takes many twists and turns in the 21st century. People in the generation or two that preceded our own often worked for the same employer for many, many years, lived their lives in the area in which they were born, and were subject to much slower changes in technology and the economy. Contrast that lifestyle to more contemporary ones. It appears that job- and career-switching is an ongoing, evolving process. We often not only travel for recreation but we tend to move more often for personal or employment-related reasons. Economic cycles, for better and worse, happen quickly. And, technology seems to leap forward on a weekly basis. Instead of a long term commitment to owning property, choosing rental houses may make more sense.
  • Financial issues. The numbers of exotic mortgage products available, many permitting us to purchase property with little or no money down, are intoxicating. The temptation is high to use one of these to purchase our first or subsequent properties. However, suppose you could find rental homes with much more square footage, better appliances and amenities, and in more upscale neighborhoods for the same monthly cost as that little starter home you struggled to purchase? Would it make sense to consider your lifestyle and comfort as much as future investment gains? Probably.
  • Repairs and maintenance issues. You've all seen those cute but frightening signs in upscale stores that warn, “You break it, you bought it.” Sometimes prospective homeowners should visualize a similar warning, “You bought it, you fix it.” Murphy's Law dictates that your heating system will fail on the coldest day of the winter, your plumbing will have a problem right before you're expecting four guests for the holidays, or your water heater will burst right before the family's shower time. You must have the ability to fund all of your home repairs, upgrades, emergencies, etc. whenever they happen. One of the reasons why people rent? They can pick up the phone and hail their landlord, who must then get to work on repairing or replacing that water heater immediately.
These are just a few reasons that answer the question "Why do people rent?" The rent real estate versus buy real estate question has existed for eons. It will continue. The bottom line is that there is no best answer for all people at all times. There are good reasons for both approaches. Think about your personal situation and pick the best solution for you.

What Are the Rights of Tenants and Landlords With Rental Houses?

The Rights of Tenants and Landlords With Rental Houses

As you would expect, both parties to agreements for rental houses have rights and responsibilities. Often, the rights of one mirror the responsibilities of the other. Here are some primary rights of both tenants and landlords.

Tenant rights:

  • You should receive a clean and safe rental property. Your landlord should deliver a rental home that is safe from any known hazards and should be thoroughly clean to ensure sanitary conditions.
  • You should be provided reasonable privacy. Remember, your landlord does have the legal right to gain access to your rental property when appropriate (emergency situations, to make repairs, etc.), but semi-regular unannounced visits at 5:30 a.m. are violations of your rights.
  • You have the right to have necessary repairs completed in a timely fashion. When problems (plumbing, electrical, heating, etc.) occur in rental homes, you should notify your landlord immediately. You then should expect that needed repairs will take place as soon as possible.
  • Written receipts of payments made by you (rent, security deposits, etc.). Even if you pay by check, you should expect written confirmation of all payments.
Landlord rights:

  • You should receive the rent on time and in full. An agreement made in good faith should be maintained in good faith. If any financial problems afflict tenants in your rental houses, you should expect to be notified promptly.
  • You have the right to be notified if your tenants will be away for a prolonged period of time. This gives you the opportunity to monitor your rental property to avoid problems.
  • You should receive timely notification of needed repairs so you can fix small problems before they become major issues or cause undue harm to your rental houses.
  • Your tenants should abide by all rental or lease terms, just as you are expected to do. Changes desired by one party or the other should be negotiated and agreed to.

What Is the Major Difference Between Rental Agreements and Leases on Rental Homes?

The Major Difference Between Rental Agreements and Leases on Rental Homes

The terms “rental agreement” and “lease” are often used interchangeably, but legally they are different. There are, of course, similarities that are noteworthy. In both cases, tenant and landlord have come to agreement that the former will occupy the property of the latter, which is the most important factor. Rental homes transactions should have one form of agreement or another.

There is no “best” type of agreement to cover rental houses. These two forms of contractual occupancy are simply different in their perspective and some of their language. It is important to learn exactly what a prospective landlord has in mind when he/she mentions a rental agreement or lease. If you simply ask the landlord a desired time frame for which the house should be occupied, you should learn what type of agreement really pertains to this rental property. Here are the primary differences in the two agreements.

  • Rental Agreement. This normally means you will occupy rental houses on a month-to-month basis. Unless a specific end of term date is negotiated, this agreement is open-ended, meaning that you could occupy the rental property for years, if you and your landlord so desired. However, it also means that on less than 30 days' notice, either party could terminate the contract, raise the rent, change other terms, etc. Rental agreements are common, sometimes work very well for both parties, and at other times create problems.
  • Lease. When you lease rental property, you'll agree to a fixed term, sometimes with options to renew at certain dates, at a fixed rental price. Your landlord will agree that this term and price are acceptable. This agreement tends to work better with rental houses since both parties are aware of the most important components of the agreement. This additional stability for both tenant and landlord is often important. Problems could still arise if the circumstances of one party or the other change dramatically during the lease term, making it difficult for one or the other to fulfill the terms of the contract.
Many of the remaining terms, rights, responsibilities, and legal issues will be similar in both forms of agreement. If you're looking to occupy for the short term, consider yourself quite “mobile,” or have high confidence your prospective landlord has no plans to raise rents or change tenants frequently, a rental agreement might be appropriate. Should you value more stability when you rent real estate, a fair lease may be the better choice.

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Barbara Gibson