What are some tips for renters before signing a lease?

Asked by Trulia, San Francisco, CA Tue Mar 6, 2012

What are some things to be aware of? What are some tips when negotiating a lease?

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Ken Fisher, Agent, Fishers, IN
Tue Mar 6, 2012
Always work with an experienced, licensed Broker, Realtor. Make sure the property is not going into foreclosure. Most leases have set rates, some terms can be negotiated but don't count on it. You can often negotiate rate if you are signing a 2 or 3 year lease, but don't plan to break it ... it will cost you. Read the lease word for word and make sure that you understand it. Keep in mind that you must maintain the property in the same condition that it is in when you sign the lease.
2 votes
Lona.white, Home Buyer, Indianapolis, IN
Thu Apr 5, 2012
go and see the apartment when it's raining or in the winter. This way you can look for cracks or leaks
1 vote
Fran Lazerov, Agent, Indianapolis, IN
Tue Mar 6, 2012
Read the terms and conditions carefully. Is the lease worded so you are paying a set amount for the entire term of the lease but at the rate of a certain figure per month, or is it a straight certain figure per month, ie if you are paying 1000 per month or 12000 per year, broken down at the rate of 1000 per month? What happens if you break the lease: if you get transfered out of town, do you have to pay a penalty? If you have asked for repairs and the landlord has not fulfilled his part of the agreement, can you cancel the lease without penalty? What is the grace period for getting the money to the landlord? If it is a private home, how many other investments does the landlord have? Will the repairs be done by licensed and bonded contractors or is the owner going to do them himself or herself? If it is a private home, you might ask for a credit reference on the owner to make sure they are credit worthy. Has the homeowner been current in his or her bills? Do a little digging because they will also do the same on you. If you are leasing an apartment on other multi family, if it's owned by a corporation, you might not be able to get them to do those things, but if it's a one house deal, get as much information as you can on the property as well as the homeowner. A qualified real estate professional shouldl give you the protection you need.
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