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Renting a property comes with advantages that are often overlooked. You don’t have to worry about home improvements or paying property tax. You can move whenever your lease is up, or if you like the property enough you can sign a new lease. Renting offers plenty of flexibility that owning a property doesn’t. However, there are a few things renters should be knowledgeable about before signing the lease.  

Research the Neighborhood 

You don’t want to get stuck somewhere you won’t enjoy living. Make sure you’re knowledgeable about the crime in the area, as well as the local amenities. You want to live somewhere that’s convenient for you. Are there restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, or public transport nearby? Depending on your needs, these are some things you may want to consider.  

If you own a car, does the rental have its own place to park—or does it have public parking? If loud noises bother you and there are frequent sirens or trains passing by, then maybe it’s not the best place to live.  

Read the Terms of Lease  

Before you sign anything, it is absolutely necessary that you read all parts of the lease agreement. If there is anything you’re unsure of, have a realtor or attorney look over the lease to make sure everything is standard. You will want to pay extra attention to specific rules and clauses of the lease, like if there are pet policies, maintenance & upkeep, and information regarding your rent and security deposit. You don’t want any surprises, so make sure everything is clear and ask questions so you understand everything detailed in the lease.  

Inspect Property 

Make sure you inspect the property upon moving in. If there’s anything “off” report it to the landlord. Document and take pictures of all pre-existing damages and the overall condition of the rental. Test all the appliances and make sure they work properly. Turn on faucets and sinks and check to make sure the water pressure is alright. Ask your landlord if there’s an available move-in/move-out checklist, or you can find one online. Don’t make yourself pay for damage you didn’t do.  

Pay on Time 

Set reminders to pay your rent and bills on time. You don’t want to be late on your rent or your landlord can charge a late fee and not allow you to resign your lease. Paying your rent on time also gives you a better reputation, and your landlord might even write a recommendation for you if you plan to move somewhere else.  

Sometimes landlords accept automatic bank transfers as a way to pay your rent. Talk with your future landlord to see if you can set one up so your rent is always on time.  

Purchase Renters Insurance 

You never know when something will happen, so that’s why it’s best to always be prepared and have coverage in place so you don’t have to worry. Renters insurance can protect you from suffering financial loss due to damage and theft. For example, if your upstairs neighbor floods their apartment and your belongings suffer from water damage you would be covered by your renter’s insurance. Or if there’s a fire in the building and your belongings suffer as a result. It covers your personal belongings in case they get damaged in an unfortunate circumstance, disaster, or if someone breaks into your home.  

Renters insurance can also cover additional living expenses if there were ever a period of time where you’re unable to live in your rental—such as natural disasters. It can also provide guests medical protection in case anyone is injured while in your rental.  

Some landlords may require you to have renters’ insurance before signing the lease.  

Contact one of your local insurance agents to discuss the best renter’s insurance plans for your needs.