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Renting a property isn’t always as straightforward as you might think, and there are several important considerations when starting your search for somewhere to live. Some dos and don’ts are worth observing:

Don’t rush – it’s tempting to jump at the chance of renting a property you really like the look of, but take your time and go through the following dos and don’ts carefully.

Do check the location is right for you – is the property in the best location to meet your needs? How close is it to your workplace? How good are transport links? Are the amenities you desire within easy reach?

Research the neighborhood as far as you can. Use a map resource such as this one to start, then ideally visit it and take a thorough look round and check out the whereabouts of amenities.

Do set a budget – rentals obviously vary by type of property, location and by specific area. You may have to budget for higher rentals if you have to – or simply want to – live in a specific part of the country. For example, San Francisco or New York would be at the higher end of the scale.

To get a feel for rentals by area and types of property available check out online resources. For example, if you’re looking in the Houston area you can use a resource such as ForRent to search for suitable properties in this thriving Texan city.

Don’t underestimate other costs – it’s not just the monthly rental you’ll need to budget for. It’s likely that you’ll be asked for a deposit, possibly amounting to a month’s rent, along with maybe a month’s rent upfront. Administrative fees may be charged by the rental company to cover paperwork and references.

You could be facing a bill amounting to at least two months rent plus some sundry expenses before you move in, so be prepared and clarify what is required from the company or landlord.

Do clarify what bills you’ll be paying – as a tenant you’ll face various household bills. You may find some bills are included which may effectively give you a higher monthly rental budget.

Typical costs will likely include items such as electricity, heat and cable subscriptions. Be aware of insurance – while it’s your landlord’s responsibility to insure the actual property, insuring the contents is down to you. Again, check this as if the property is furnished or part furnished then contents insurance may be met by the landlord.

Do show yourself as a responsible tenant – have references to hand and perhaps a letter of ‘proof’ from your employer that you actually are working. Some landlords and property companies may be on their guard if you’re a younger person looking to rent your first property.

Do get everything in writing – but don’t sign anything until you’re sure what you’re committing to; perhaps ask a trusted and knowledgeable friend or family member to check the documentation. If you’re a student renting property, your college may offer some type of lease review service.

In particular, check terms such as how much notice you have to give when moving out and what notice you should be given if the landlord wishes you to quit. What arrangements exist regarding the holding and returning of deposits paid?

Choose carefully

It’s important to do the groundwork in terms of researching properties and being fully aware of the overall costs not just the monthly rental. Also, take your time and don’t cut corners.