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Renting a Home: 5 Things to Look For


Not every renter is meant to end up in an apartment. Sometimes the ideal fit is a rental home. They come with plenty of benefits—yard access, often better garage availability and sometimes multiple floors.

When it comes to finding an ideal rental home, here five things to be on the lookout for.

Maintenance Policy

One thing that is markedly different between a rental house and a rental apartment is potential maintenance. With an exterior and a yard in your living space, there may be more upkeep involved on the tenant’s part. Ask the property manager about who is responsible for keeping the lawn mown and the sidewalks free of snow. Additionally, find out whether a building manager will be available for fixed appliances or plumbing/electrical acting up. Know your responsibilities before you sign.

Adequate Security

One key benefit of renting a unit in an apartment complex versus a freestanding rental house is the added level of secure access. Many apartments are outfitted with a 24/7 locked entrance in addition to the door locks on the individual units. Ensure that your potential rental house has adequate locks on all exterior entrances—it never hurts to have a knob lock and a deadbolt. (Also, keep an eye out for window locks—particularly on the ground level.)

Parking Availability

Whether you’re moving into a rental house alone or with friends or family, you may require parking for more than one vehicle. More often than not, you won’t have access to a parking lot, as in an apartment complex. Make sure your rental property of choice can accommodate your vehicle(s). Not all rental houses come with a driveway or garage, so ensure the neighborhood allows free street parking. Save yourself the headache of potential parking tickets by planning ahead and knowing the rules for the area.

Inspect the Flaws

Depending on how well taken care of the rental house is, there may be obvious signs of past sewer issues or a presence of bugs or rodents. Be vigilant when going on tours of properties and ask about any signs of wear and tear that can’t be explained. You may be able to avoid a poor-quality property that’s susceptible to unwanted pests. 


Not every feature of a rental property is necessarily a deal-breaker—but it doesn’t help to keep an eye out for some convenience factors when making your decision. For example, does the house have a working washer and dryer? In an apartment complex, you may have more immediate access to a laundry room on the premises, so in-house laundry can help you avoid regular trips to the nearest laundromat. How about the yard? Outdoor space is one of the best reasons to rent a house, versus an apartment. Is there enough space for the activities you most enjoy? Or are you after a property with less space to mow or shovel? Make sure features meet your expectations.


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