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Renting a flat? Here is a checklist!

July 14, 2009 12:42 IST
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The job of looking for an apartment on rent is not what you would call fun. However, if you know exactly what you want and where to look, you will find that it's not as bad as you thought. In fact, with these tips you may even start enjoying it.

Decide what you are looking for

It requires a good amount of time and effort to select the right apartment, especially when you are new to a city. So first decide what you are looking for.

Is your need work location-based? Or is it based on rent? Are you looking for a particular neighbourhood? Do you have a large family? Do you need to be near your children's school? Do you have pets that need to be accommodated too?

For whatever reason you are looking to move to an accommodation, do make a note of all your requirements before you make your final choice.

Put a priority list for the features

Basically, your needs and desires are the first priority when you look for your apartment. You may not find an apartment that fits all your needs and requirements, but there is no harm in creating a list to help you.

It is not feasible to compromise your lifestyle in a hurry to rent an apartment. For example, many apartments are old and traditional buildings with no facilities of lifts (elevators).

In case you are on the fifth floor and have aged people staying with you, it would be a strenuous task of climbing all those steps. So, it's advisable to know the apartment well before you choose it.

Other facilities to be taken note of include the number of rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, proper ventilation, security arrangements, water supply, maintenance facilities, a good view etc. And don't forget to enquire on its pet-friendliness if you have a pet.

On listing out your priorities in the apartment, the next thing you have to do is to cross out the things you can live without. This way, in case you need to forgo something, at least it will be at the bottom of the list.

Make a personal tour

No matter how you find the place you are deciding to rent, a personal tour is absolutely crucial, even if it is recommended by your best friend. Visit, visit and visit the apartment. This is because only you know what exactly will make you comfortable in your house, what difficulties you have faced in the place you lived earlier, etc.

Go from room to room, preferably with your family and let each one state their opinions. This way you will not miss out on anything.

Inspect the property carefully. If there's any damage, you not only would want to ask that it be fixed, but wouldn't want to be blamed for it later. Make sure such problem areas are addressed in a lease, either by your agreeing to live with it, or the landlord agreeing to fix it by a certain date.

Check out common walls (walls shared with adjoining apartments). The more walls in common, the greater the chance of noise from next door. Also consider a common entrance in terms of how much privacy you may want.

Figure out market value of rent for the kind of place you are opting for

There are several ways you can obtain this information. If you are considering going through brokers they can provide you with fair market value rents in your choice area. Doing your own analysis also makes excellent sense.

The Internet is the most convenient and accessible way to locate the fair market value of rent for your apartment. There are several publications available that will provide a generic idea of rental rates in that area.

It is important to remember that fair market rents will vary depending on the location of the property. Different neighborhoods demand higher or lower rates. As they say in real estate, 'location is everything'.

The best way to check out whether you are getting the best value, go through advertisements of similar apartments in similar locations.

After you have done this, the next thing to do is to check if your rent can be accommodated in the budget and still leave room for other expenses - saving, entertainment, leisure and if need be the flexibility to pay for an EMI as well.

Legal issues: Reading the clauses of the contract with extreme care

And now, for one of the most important things. Before you settle down with your decision to rent the apartment, you need to look carefully at the contract and at the clauses stipulated in it.

Renters sometimes sign blindly and never get to know what they signed for. Because of this, disputes arise and sometimes they do not even know that they have foregone their right to protest once the contract is signed!

So you need to pay careful attention to the requirements, read everything carefully and only then, put your signature on the piece of paper.

Happy house-hunting!

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