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Before you rent

Why own when you can rent?

If you're debating whether to sign a lease or sign a mortgage, you've likely heard this old adage: Why rent when you can own? For a long time, owning appeared the more promising option for fence-sitters. Home ownership in America rose to record levels in recent...

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Determining what you want in an apartment

Before you set out to hunt for an apartment, make a list of your must-have amenities and like-to-have amenities. Once you begin looking at units, you'll probably shift your priorities as price and reality set in, but it's better to go in with an idea of what...

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How to choose the right neighborhood

There's no substitute for an in-person visit to help you choose your new neighborhood, but before you set off in search of a new community, visit Trulia's Stats & Trends for information on market trends, background on schools and parks, and crime statistics....

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When should you pay a finder's fee for an apartment?

In some urban markets, such as Manhattan, you'll need to work with a real estate agent to find a rental home or apartment. These agents charge a non-refundable fee for helping you to secure an apartment or house rental, and that fee is usually one to two months...

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Renting near a college campus

Living near a college campus has its pros and cons. If you're an undergraduate, graduate student, or work on campus, living near campus is convenient. But depending on your age, personality, and temperament, living near campus can have its downfalls too: Parking...

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10 Questions to ask a building manager when touring a rental

Meeting with a landlord or building manager is a two-way interaction. The building manager gets to meet you in person and get a feel for your character before you turn in a rental application. And you, the potential tenant, get to ask that building manager...

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How does a landlord screen tenants with a rental application?

Applying for a rental apartment or home is a lot like a job interview. You need to demonstrate to a landlord that you're financially and socially responsible and can pay your rent reliably while living quietly and respectfully among others. Landlords use the...

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How do I identify (and deal with) an abusive landlord?

Landlords go bad for a whole variety of reasons, and in a whole variety of sometimes spine-tingly awful ways. Some are overworked, many are disorganized, and a few are essentially evil. (And before you assume "evil," remember, landlords are people, too - they...

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10 Ways to spiff up a drab apartment

Step number one is to skim the lease and get a sense of what you're explicitly allowed to do. Step number two is to run anything not clearly allowed (or even specifically prohibited) past your landlord -- failure to do so can result in big hits to the security...

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