Personal

Renters Beware! -Things to Notice When Renting A House

Okay…So I owned my home for 11 years.  Before that, I pretty much lived where ever my sister could fit me.  I recently sold my house for a lot of personal reasons that I won’t get into here.  I moved back in with my sister temporarily and quickly realized that our lifestyles were completely different and I needed to move quickly.  Under pressure from myself (and my beautiful daughters) I moved into an expensive city with high rent prices.  I really wanted to live in a nice neighborhood because I am a single mom with three kids.  The neighborhood I previously lived in was not bad, but we had an HOA that didn’t hold rule breakers accountable and neighbors who’s children had no home training.  I wanted my kids to be able to go outside and play without being worried that the boogie man would get them or without the anxiety of the other kids who were rude and disrespectful.  I am a stickler for rules.  I try to follow them myself, although I will admit, bad habits are hard to break.  Anyway, the girls and I found a home that seemed perfect.  It had the gas stove I always wanted, a lazy susan in the corner cabinet, hardwood floors, a fenced in backyard, separate shower and tub in the master bath and a two car garage.  It even had a toilet room, you know, a toliet in the master bath with a door.

I signed the lease and moved in.  We were so excited until we began noticing issues that, honestly, you really would not have noticed with the naked eye.  You have to know what to check for.

Electrical/Lighting

First, lets talk about the electrical sockets.  Most of the sockets would barely hold anything plugged in.  The handy man was kind enough to replace 3 outlets, but if he could squeeze the plug in pieces together and force them to hold, then that was the fix.  The light in the half bath would flicker if you didn’t make sure you flipped the switch all the way up.  Okay, I know you’re probably thinking…just flip the switch all the way up, but who forces the switch up when you turn on the lights?  Sometimes the dryer causes the breaker to flip and no, we are not runnning huge appliances all at once.  Oh, also, check for outside lighting.  Make sure it is sufficient for your needs.  Make sure all the outside electrical sockets work.  One last thing on this, check for adequate lighting in the house.  We had to go buy floor lamps for the bedrooms because there were no ceiling lights.

Flooring

So, how annoying is it that everytime you walk up the stairs barefoot, a carpet nail sticks in your toes.  Or, when you walk in the den, the floor slides apart.  Yes, sadly these are things I have had to contend with all year.  Some one did some poor renovating on this home.  There was a huge half inch gap between the huge garden tub and the step in to it.  (The “handy man” was nice enough to stuff it with caulk).  The vinyl in the kitchen was not stuck down properly, so when you try to get out of your chair or move the refrigerator perhaps because you want to clean behind it, it gathers.  Yes, the vinyl gathers.  Then you are knicking it and causing holes that you are going to be held accountable for.  Last by not least, the grout between the tile in the master bath is cracking.  Everytime I sweep, I get a nice dust pile.

Water

Check the water pressure.  Make sure all the faucets work properly, including the sprayer in the kitchen.  Do you know how frustrating it is to wash dishes without a sprayer.  Check for water spots in the ceiling.  This could be signs of a roof leak.  If there is a filter or water softener, ask when it was changed last or if it is in good condition.  Also, make sure the sink stoppers work properly and if there is a garbage disposal, make sure there is a stopper for that.

Read the Lease VERY carefully…

I promise I thought I read the lease before I moved in.  There is so much that the property management company is requiring me to do to prepare the home for the next renters.  Things that weren’t done when I move in.  For instance, they are requiring me to clean the gutters.  Also, they are requiring me to have the carpets and the home professionally cleaned.  I have to use the company they have chosen and I have to provide receipts.  Make sure that the things they are requiring you to do are done for you before you move in.  A good thing to do would be to see if you can find out how long the property has been empty.  Use it or lose it not only pertains to our bodies, but our things as well.

Conclusion

Dont just focus on how things look.  You want to make sure everthing is working properly.  You might find yourself being charged for things that you didn’t break.  Take the time to read the lease.  I know you are probably excited that your application was accepted, but taking the time to thoroughly read the lease will save you a lot of heartache.  There is nothing worse than being stuck living in a home that you don’t like with a rent payment that’s sky high.

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