By Anita Ginsburg
Moving into a new house or apartment can be an exciting adventure, but as with any adventure, it could involve some peril. Renting a home or apartment has many perks and can save you a lot of money with the right steps. Don’t make these six costly mistakes that are all too common:
Renting Sight Unseen
Don’t be tempted to consider renting a new place sight unseen. A personal visit is necessary to ensure the unit is exactly as described and that the character of the neighborhood is a good fit. You’ll also be able to see anything wrong with the unit, and smell any smoke, mold or pet odors that would be difficult to get rid of and uncomfortable to live with.
Discovering after you sign on the dotted line that there aren’t enough laundry machines for all the residents in the complex or that your daily commute has you stuck in traffic twice a day can quickly take the joy out of your new digs.
The lesson here is to pay attention to details before signing the lease. Inspect everything thoroughly. Talk to other tenants and do a trial run for your commute to work. You might be unpleasantly surprised, but saved from making a costly mistake.
Moving in With a Stranger
Finding a roommate is sometimes necessary in order to make ends meet. You’ll want to make sure they are financially stable and a good fit with your lifestyle. Discuss cleanliness preferences, chores, living styles and how financial matters will be shared before you move in together.
Not Taking Pictures
Not documenting pre-existing damage is akin to offering your security deposit to the landlord. Be sure to photograph any defects such as carpet stains, broken tiles or windows, and scratches on appliances or walls so you don’t end up liable for pre-existing damage when it’s time to move out. Be sure to note these damages to your landlord as well, so they can keep it in their records.
Making Repairs or Renovations
While routine maintenance such as cleaning the apartment is the responsibility of the tenant, making large repairs or renovations is not. The landlord would have the right to sue you for damages for botched repairs or unauthorized renovations.
Not Having Renter’s Insurance
A landlord’s insurance policy doesn’t cover your personal belongings in the event of theft, fire or other disasters, which is why you need renter’s insurance. Don’t forget this simple, affordable option to ensure that your clothing, furniture, electronics and other belongings can be replaced in the event of a mishap. They should have homeowner’s insurance to cover the rest of the damage.
Following these six simple steps can ensure that the excitement of your new home or apartment lasts long after the moving boxes are emptied.
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Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO who often writes about home, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. Informational credit for this article to Underwriters Insurance Brokers (BC) Ltd.