Renting a new house is something that can be overwhelming – all things considered. There are numerous costs to think about and so many different things to consider, and when you miss something important, it can be catastrophic. There are ways to avoid this, and there are certain red flags to watch out for. To help you out, I have outlined some of the key red flags to think about before signing a lease. Take a look.
Red Flag One: What’s the quality of life in the area?
When you’re thinking of moving into a new house or apartment, you need to know what it’s like to live there, lest you get a nasty shock. Take a look at the area both during the day and at night. It’s wise to take a look at the local shops and amenities to ensure that they meet the standard that you are after for your home.
Red flag two: What’s the apartment like?
If you’re wandering around an apartment and checking it out, and it smells of pesticides, it could mean that the place has been recently exterminated. This could be both a good and a bad thing – a good thing because it means that the owners are vigilant and looking to keep the place clean and clear of critters, but a bad thing because it may mean that the house has recently had a pest problem. If you need termite protection in Melbourne for example, it can be a costly affair, so be aware of this and ensure that you speak to the owners about this before signing the lease.
Red flag three: How’s the plumbing?
In any potential new home, you should look at the plumbing and gas to ensure that it’s all up to scratch. Turn on taps and flush the toilet – and check for leaks and other potential issues. Things like this can cause problems down the line with a higher water bill, or at the very least some annoyance as you go back and forth with the landlord to get them fixed!
Red flag four: What’s the lease like?
Are you after a six month or twelve month lease? What are the conditions of the lease itself? You need to ensure that you have the security that you’re after in your home, and that you know that you’re not going to be unceremoniously booted from your home in the event of the owner selling! Sadly in Australia, it’s the case that you only need to give one month’s notice before giving notice to vacate, but hopefully you can get around this with a good contract.
Red flag five: How are the neighbours?
Take a look at the house or unit and see if you can chat to any of the neighbours. At the very least, take a look at the yards and houses of your potential new neighbours to ensure that you’re not going to be subjected to loud parties or cars doing burnouts outside the front at 3am. You can’t predict this kind of thing on appearance alone, but you can try to make a judgement call.
Red flag six: What’s the estate agent like?
The estate agent you have will be the difference between a good time in your home and a hard time. Having had a difficult real estate agent in the past, I know what a hassle it can be to have to deal with uncooperative and difficult agents. Try to judge their character when you go to the open house or when you visit the office.
Red flag seven: How’s your rental history?
Before you sign the lease, you need to ensure that your lease will be approved! Ensure that your rental history is up to scratch and that you have the information to back up your application. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on a potential dream property because you were too slow!