Whether it’s your first time renting a house or your fifth, it’s an exciting time because you can decorate the space how you want it, and don’t have the normal house maintenance burdens that homeowners do. As you’re looking for houses for rent in Austin, TX, chances are you’re going to see half a dozen or so before making a final decision – and maybe even more than that.
Before signing any documents with the landlord, there are key questions to ask to make sure you’re getting the best price, amenities, and finalize any rules that they didn’t mention on the house tour. So before you jump on your dream rental, here are some questions to ask before signing away.
Once the house tour is over and you’re still interested in the property, make sure you clarify the rent, due dates, deposits, and utilities. You want to make sure that you didn’t view an old listing that was posted last year and they didn’t all of a sudden raise the price and forget to update it online. If they do tell you a higher price than you read, show them the mistake and they should give it to you for the advertised price.
Utilities are expensive and will be the key factor in determining whether or not you can afford the place. Clarify which utilities you’re responsible for as the tenant, and the approximate cost of them so you know what to expect.
Instead of just assuming, ask the landlord to explain the entire screening and application process so you can set your expectations. Most of these applications and processes have fees attached to them, so make sure you have some money set aside as the totals can add up quickly. Ask your landlord if a credit report is done and if it’s a soft or hard inquiry. If the landlord doesn’t have an answer for this, it may hurt your credit score.
How Soon Does the Lease Start?
This is something to bring up in the beginning, as you don’t want to fall in love with the entire rental and realize you can’t move in for 4 months or the opposite. In this case, it probably isn’t going to work out.
Duration of the Lease
If you’re only willing to have a year lease but the landlord only does 2-year leases, then it doesn’t matter how much you love the rental property; it’s not going to work out.
Are Lots of People Looking at This Rental?
If the landlord hasn’t had many people come to tour the rental, try and figure out why this is. Consider the fact that it is priced too high based on its location, or in a rougher neighborhood. Hopefully the landlord wouldn’t lie about this, but if you sense some dishonesty, it wasn’t meant to be and you should leave.