Living in a house is an aspiration that we all hold. To many, the idea of never having a backyard to spend a lazy summer day in is simply depressing; the prospect of being crunched up against neighbors in an apartment or condominium for the rest of their lives, simply soul crushing.

But what if you don’t have the money to buy a home at this point in your life? What if you’re not able to seize upon the great houses (with even better prices) that are presently on the market?

The answer is to rent. And with so many home and property owners looking to generate extra income in this tough economy, the variety and sheer number of choices available to you at the moment is simply staggering. Any real estate professional will tell you that, if possible, it’s always better to buy. However, if it’s not financially feasible for you at the moment and you are itching to get a feel for what it feels like to live in a house, renting is a great option to consider.

Once you have found a property that you like, the next step is to begin dealing with your landlord. It’s imperative at this point that you formalize the nature of the agreement in writing and not simply in words. Included in the lease documents should be (among other items)

(1) The amount of the monthly rent

(2) The term of the lease,

(3) Whether or not you will be responsible for cleaning upon moving out ,

(4) The amount of the security deposit

(5) Who is responsible for the maintenance fees for the house (gardener, broken pipes etc…).

All of these items are essential components of a lease agreement for a home. However, the one step than cannot be overlooked under any circumstances is to agree on the condition of the house before you move in. Perform an inspection of the entire property. If something is broke, be sure to point it to the homeowner and have them sign off on it. Cases abound of property owners who decide to rent their home seeking damages from their renters in court. Conversely, many renters end up taking property owners to court to get their security deposits back.

Renting a home as a great stepping-stone toward homeownership. Keep these few items in mind to ensure that your dream to live in a home does not turn into a nightmare.

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This is filed under Home Buying.

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