Time to rent? For many first-time renters, the prospect of having a house of their own to live in is exciting. Compared to an apartment or some townhomes, you don’t have to worry about sharing walls with neighbors, you will have a larger living space, and can enjoy having your own yard. However, before getting into your first house rental, you should be aware of some things that will make sure the experience is excellent rather than a nightmare.

Build Up a Chunk of Change

If you have never rented a place before, then you may not be aware that you will need money saved up to make the jump. Firstly, there will be an application fee that can range from $35 to $100. Check your states laws regarding any limits that landlords may have with application fees.

Secondly, you will need to have enough money to cover not only first month’s rent, but maybe even last month’s rent. Usually you will have to pay first month’s rent and the security deposit, so be prepared by building up a savings to handle these expenses. There could also be other fees, such as one for pets, so be sure to investigate what other fees you should expect.

Thirdly, make sure you understand any utilities that you will be responsible for paying. Call the local gas, electric, and water companies that will be handling these services and make sure that these things will be turned on by your move-in date. Be prepared to pay any deposits as well.

Make Sure You Understand Your Rental Contract Agreement

The rental agreement exists for the purpose of not only protecting the landlord but also the tenant. In this agreement, make sure you understand any terms that are required of you so that later down the line you won’t end up being in violation of this agreement, which can be grounds for eviction.

Such things that might be in the agreement include how you go about ending the lease and if you want to make any changes to the house. In most cases, there will probably be some sort of fee, such as owing an additional month’s rent if you want to move out. If you want to change the color of the walls or upgrade certain things that affect your day-to-day living experience, you will most likely need to get written permission from the landlord to do so. With this written permission, there could also be instructions on how to go about these upgrades, and it may stipulate how you will be reimbursed for the upgrades.

Getting Approved for the Rental

Keep in mind that just because you have a stellar credit score doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically get approved for the rental. Sometimes, a person with a lower score, but an excellent recommendation from a previous landlord can beat out someone with a better credit score.

One thing that you should also be mindful of is if the landlord has some way of screening applicants out. The landlord may set a minimum income requirement, or some other checklist items to rule out applicants. Make sure you are aware of these so that you don’t waste your time and money on any application fees. The best thing you can do is ask a lot of questions, and even interview the landlord to determine his or her background to ensure that you don’t end up with someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.