For many that are selling their homes these days, buying a new property is not an option. Some prefer to see what is going to happen in the real estate market, while others are just tired of the expense and time it takes to maintain a home. Regardless, we are seeing more people consider the option of renting than we have seen in the last decade. For those that have not rented in years, it may seem strange to be living in someone else’s home, unable to paint the walls or have a pet, depending on the landlord’s rules. But for those that want a simpler lifestyle, this may just be what you want at this stage of your life.
Benefits of Renting
Maintenance Free: Let’s face it, it’s nice to be able to notify a landlord when the bathroom faucet leaks and not have to correct the problem yourself or hire an expensive plumber. If fixing things is no longer something that appeals to you, renting gives you a built-in maintenance plan.
Financial Flexibility: If your job is uncertain, or you want to save money, renting can be a more affordable living option. It’s much easier to make living adjustments when you rent as opposed to owning a home. Renting a home requires less money up front and gives you an option to invest your money elsewhere or save should you want to buy a home in the future.
Incidental Expenses: There are those apartments, condos and homes where landlords will include the cost of utilities such as water, sewer, garbage and maybe cable and heat in the rent as well.
Establish Good Credit: If you have had issues with your credit in the past several years, renting can allow you to build good credit when you make on-time rental payments.
Downside of Renting
Of course, with the good come some not so great things.
No Control: If your lease is coming up, there may be a very good chance that your rent will increase. Renters have no say in the fluctuation of rent payments.
No Decorating: For the most part, landlords do not want their renters to re-decorate. In order for a home to be rentable, most owners like to have a neutral colour palate, so making any changes are often limited.
No Equity: Obviously, if you are renting, you are not gaining any equity in your home.
Landlord’s Rules: Finally, the landlord can make the decisions of which a renter needs to abide (as long as they are legal of course!)
So let’s say you decide to rent. How can you get off on the right foot when it’s been years since you were last a tenant?
1. Read Your Lease: We cannot stress this enough. You need to read every line, word by word of your lease. It is a legal contract and it describes the relationship you will have between yourself and your landlord. Read what you are agreeing to before you sign on the dotted line.
2. Don’t Change The Rules: You can’t sign a lease, agree not to have a pet, then go and buy a dog thinking the landlord will never find out. Want to make the second bedroom a nursery and paint it blue or pink? You MUST get the landlord’s permission first in WRITING! Do not go by a verbal agreement. Those never stand up. Make sure you keep the agreement in a file, as you will need if the landlord forgets.
3. Make Maintenance Requests in Writing: Obviously, if you have an emergency, then a phone call is necessary. But for those that don’t need immediate service, such as a dripping faucet, then submit all repair requests in writing. If there is a broken sprinkler head, then you can submit it with your rent check. Landlords need to be notified when repair issues arise, but they don’t need a 3:00am call if it’s something that can wait. Also, some minor repairs don’t need the attention of the landlord, like replacing a light bulb.
4. Be Respectful: The best way to treat your landlord is to treat them the way you would want to be treated. Be courteous to your neighbours and be respectful to the neighbourhood by keeping the home tidy and neat. Create a warm and inviting living environment.
5. Pay Your Rent On Time: This goes without saying, but many renters believe they have a grace period. Not all landlords accept this. By paying your rent on time when it is due, you will avoid late fees and any bad marks from your landlord. If you move, you will want a good reference.
Finding A Rental Property
Renting takes some getting used to after owning a home. I have found that many sellers can hardly wait to rid themselves of the responsibilities of owning a home. They are ready to enjoy their free time, travel or just take a break. Clients often ask me how they should go about looking for a rental home or apartment. How different is it from purchasing a home? In many ways, you need to ask yourself the same questions about finding rental as if you were looking for a property to buy.
1. Figure Out Budget: What is the amount you want to pay for each month? Figure out your monthly expenses, how much you what you want to save if that is your goal in renting, and other living expenses.
2. Features: Do you want an apartment with a pool and weight room? Or are you looking for a home with a fireplace or gas stove in your kitchen?
3. Neighbourhoods: Do you want to live close to work? In downtown? Older neighbourhood? Map out your day and see what options make the most sense to you. Remember, the goal of renting is to make your life a little easier if possible.
So finding a rental Windsor property requires much of the same decision-making process as buying a home. Remember, there are all types of rentals for all types of budgets and living situations.