It starts with your motivation to move from your current residence. It can be anything from, "To have a place of my own." to, "I need to find a better neighborhood closer to my job." This will help you decide how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and total rooms you need in the new rental. If you have worked for your employer more than two years and plan to stay, you may qualify to buy a house on mortgage instead of renting to pay the landlords mortgage. Once you have narrowed the selection based on location and # of rooms, you need to investigate the crime rate, flood zone, pollution rate, utility rates, trash removal, HVAC age, kitchen appliences, cleanliness, pest inspection, house pet permit, parking, storage, fire protection. Read the lease 24 hours before signing, write down all your questions and get staight answers.