Step 1: Budget

Your budget is a large part of your rental hunting in multiple ways. What are your long term and short term objectives? Are you looking to stay on a 1 year lease or 2 year lease? Perhaps longer. Are you looking to save up to buy a house in the near future or pay off some debts or collections. There are also additional expenses to take into consideration. Dependent on your credit, landlords may require security deposit anywhere up to two months of rent. Renter’s insurance is something that is required by landlords for their protection. You also have to factor in all the utility bills for the property.  These are all important factors when looking at your budget when considering your next home.

Step 2: Credit and Income

Your credit and income are large factors when submitting rental applications. Landlords always want to see these two sources of information to see if you have been making your rental payments on a timely manner and if you have the sufficient source of income to not only make the rental payment, but also cover the utility bills, all of your debts, and of course all other general expenses. There are always ways around getting approved if you have bad credit or no credit. Typically in these scenarios, applicants will usually have to seek a cosigner. It really comes in handy for first time rental applicants to fix their credit woes during the lease term.

Step 3: Location

Location, Location, Location..!!! All the time people are looking for a specific area for their home. It could be because you are used to that area and you want to remain there close to family and friends. It can also be due to the pricing of the area. Usually when homes are closer to metro areas such as Washington D.C., the prices tend to spike up dependent on the area. Another key factor that everyone takes into consideration is how far the house is from your place of employment. You don’t want to drive multiple hours on a daily basis just to get to work and back. These are all factors people take into consideration.

Step 4: Rental Application

The rental application is a key step. After you find your home to rent over the next year or more, you have to submit a few pieces of information to the landlord or property management company. This includes: Personal information such as name, address, birthdate, SSN, previous addresses, place of employment, others that are going to reside in the property, and income information. There generally is also a fee to run a credit and background check on each applicant. Here you can find a rental application for the states of Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

Step 5: Lease

The lease is like a binding contract between you and the landlord. Read it thoroughly, being sure to catch all factual information such as when the term begins, when the term ends, what the monthly price is, all contingencies within the lease. If you need help, be sure to ask an attorney regarding the contract. Leases generally cannot be broken. Once you are in a lease with the landlord or property management company, you are committed to reside in the property for said period of time unless there are any specific contingencies in the lease.

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