Whether you are the indecisive type and can’t seem to choose the right rental, or the impatient type who rents the first unit that comes along, read our Top 10 Tips on how to make a choice you won’t regret:
1. Figure out where in LA you want to live
Not sure what neighborhood you want to live in? Don’t ask a stranger, don’t ask us. Ask someone you know, someone who knows you. Asking a stranger what area to live in is like asking them what style clothes you should wear. If you ask us, you might be leaving your house in the morning with stilettos, a colorful sun dress and a bright pink hat. May not exactly fit your steez. You need to live somewhere that suits you and your needs. Consider proximity to friends and proximity to work. Don’t live next to the ocean if you work in Downtown LA. Just drive to the beach on the weekends. That will be a lot easier than commuting everyday. Don’t live far away from your friends. You’ll never see them. If you live on the Westside, your friends on the Eastside may as well be on another planet. That’s all the advice we can give you. But you do need to figure your location on your own ASAP. This is a critical 1st step.
2. Figure out your price range
Most renters can afford 1/3 of their income. Some may want to spend less, some more. Don’t forget to calculate in utilities, cost of moving and security deposit.
3. Make a list of your “Must Have’s”
What amenities do you need? Parking, yard, a/c? Really, really want? Guest house with yard, laundry, dishwasher? Can’t live without? Pets accepted, hardwood floors? Be open minded, be realistic, be reasonable. But don’t settle. Choose a property that is as close as possible to your dream rental.
4. Do a Drive By
Once you think you have found a good rental, drive by it at night and different times of the day/week. What’s the street parking like? What are the neighbors like?
5. Knock on the neighbors door
Ask them how they like their landlord, living in the building, living on the street. Ask them about street parking. Crime. Get the inside scoop.
6. Make sure you choose an apartment that is pet friendly…if you have a pet or are thinking of getting one
Keep in mind some landlords will ask for higher rent or additional security deposit for pets.
7. Consider who will be your landlord or property manager
After you sign a lease, you are entering into a one-year relationship with your new landlord. Can you deal? Breakups can be nasty.
8. Know the neighborhood crime stats
Check out Internet sites that list local crimes by address or zip code. Read our blog post here for links.
9. Know what you are getting into
You want to rent a big house in the hills with a large lushly landscaped yard? When you rent a house, you normally pay for all the utility bills. Do you have any idea how much it costs to water a large yard? Ask the landlord for utility estimates. What are the lease terms? What does the landlord expect from you? Do you travel and sublet your rentals frequently? Most standard L.A. contracts have a “No Sublet” clause. Do you smoke? Find out the landlord’s policy on smoking. Do you have a piano or amplified musical instruments? Most standard leases will not permit. Confirm these details with the landlord before signing on the dotted line.
10. Our most important tip in choosing a rental:
Don’t take so long making a decision that you lose out on that perfect rental
It’s more difficult to get a rental if you wait too long to decide. L.A. has a busy rental market and competition can be fierce. Vacancies move quickly. So many renters search and search and once they finally find “The One” they lose it because they took too long to decide. Maybe they were waiting to hear back about another rental, and so they stall their application process. Maybe they were stalling hoping that something even better would come along. You will lose that perfect place to someone else if you take too long to decide and if you take too long collecting your application materials. Visit our website for a detailed explanation of what our clients usually require in an application package. Most landlords throughout L.A. require the same thing: complete application, copy of ID, verification of income. There is not much a landlord can ask for, so it’s normally the same info every time. Do your research in advance, and have your applications ready to go once you have made your choice.
“Top 10 Tips” is a series of helpful tips brought to you by the lovely real estate agents at The Rental Girl . The Rental Girl is a leasing agency with branches throughout Los Angeles. Each branch is operated by a unique agent who specializes in her area. All agents at The Rental Girl are California licensed Real Estate agents who specialize in helping renters and home buyers with all their real estate needs.
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