Renting a house is becoming a more viable and realistic option than buying for many Americans, as it offers financial and geographical flexibility. The search for a perfect rental house or apartment good enough to call home can be tedious and tiresome, though. Fortunately there are numerous helpful tools that can help you find real estate properties for lease.

First, gather the details about exactly what type of house or apartment you are looking for. Start by searching property listings online, including through multiple listing services like and sites like craigslist. Local classified ads may also yield additional information about the options in your area. Narrow down your search by size and price. A good guideline for the right price is about 30% of your income. You should also consider your specific living situation and needs, such as how much parking and storage you will need, whether pets are allowed, and the number of bedrooms. Make a mental list of priorities. For example, if it’s crucial that the unit include outside yard space, make sure to mention this initially to the owner or agent of each property.

If you are interested in sticking around the area for awhile, consider looking at homes for sale that offer a rent to own option. This type of agreement allows the money you pay for rent to go towards the price of the home if you decide to purchase it down the line. It’s a benefit for both parties because the owner can make some income off of rent and has raised his chance of selling the home.

Once you find a place that fits your needs and price range, examine it critically and make sure the neighborhood is a good fit. If the area seems densely populated and there are bars on windows, perhaps you should consider a safer area in a slightly higher price range. Look closely at the details in the apartment or home, making sure it is free of cracks or bugs. You should always be discerning before signing a lease agreement.

Now that you have spent hours on the phone with various landlords and toured each community with a critical eye, it’s time to make a decision. This can be the hardest part. To make it easier, try making a list of pro’s and con’s of each place and weighing them to come to a decision. With enough time and effort, you will be leasing a house that is your dream home.

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This is filed under Looking to Rent.

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