Moving is a big deal. It's time consuming, costly, and physically and emotionally exhausting! To make your move as smooth and successful as possible, prepare ahead. You'll want to do all you can to avoid running out of time, scrambling at the last minute, and moving into the only thing you find that's available.
The first things to determine are: (1) when do you want to move and (2) where do you want to live. Before beginning your search, be sure you're ready to move. A non-refundable deposit will be required to hold any empty space you may like if you want it held while you continue your search. These following items will help with making your final decision.
1. Find an area where you want to live.
Focus on your family's specific needs such as:
- good schools
- distance to schools
- location to work
- convenient to shopping
- convenient to parks
- access to public transportation
Visit the neighborhood at different times during the day and at night to be aware of traffic and noises you may encounter while you live there.
2. Determine important items you need in your space:
- washer dryer space
- lots of natural light
- fenced yard
- allow pets
3. Know where to search:
- ask everyone you know – friends, co-workers, relatives
- online sites like Craigslist and ForRent.com
- local property management companies
Once you find a space you like, you'll need to have money for your application, a deposit, and at least the first month's rent. So,
4. Have your paperwork in order. You'll need:
- photo ID
- social security number
- employee info: name, address, phone number, email
- previous landlord (s) info: name (s), address (es), phone number (s), email (s)
- copies of pay stubs
- last year's w-2
- pet information
- checks or money orders
5. Be sure to find out:
- are appliances included
- are any utilities included
- how much are pet fees
- is parking provided
- are window treatments included
- is cable hook-up provided
- how much move-out notice is required
- how are maintenance issues handled
- can you make the space “your own” – paint, hang pictures and mirrors, etc.
As a tenant, you should not expect the attention to detail that you will receive when you're buying a home, but make sure that the property is in good condition and that everything in the property is in good working order. So be sure to:
6. View the inside of the property:
- or have someone you trust who lives local view it for you
- make sure all of your furniture will fit through the doors and into the rooms
- check for leaks under sinks, around toilets, in the ceiling
- look for any damage and water issues
7. Finally, NEVER GIVE ANYONE MONEY BEFORE YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND HAVE SOMETHING IN WRITING. We lease out properties every month. Before you give us money, you will have seen the property. Then, you pay an application fee when you turn in your completed application. If you are approved for the property, you may then put down a deposit, in our office where you also receive a receipt, or you may simply come to the office with the deposit and first month's rent, sign the contracts, get the keys and move in.
Never give money to a person you do not know. SCAMMERS CAN NOT SCAM UNLESS YOU COOPERATE WITH THEM. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more often, especially if you do everything through the internet.
Good luck with your real estate search and please let me know how it works out for you and any additional questions you may have as you go through the process!