If you are looking for a new rental home, you probably already know how important it is to determine how much you can afford to pay for your new abode. This includes the actual cost of renting the home, as well as any other associated costs, like utilities and fees to the city for water and sewer. But, there are other things you should consider that are just as important as the cost of your new residence. Follow these tips for assessing whether that steal of a deal you just found is right for you.
Assessing the suitability of the neighborhood of your new home may seem like a no brainer, but neighborhoods can be deceiving, especially if you visit them during the day when everyone is off to school and work. Make the time to visit the neighborhood at various times of the day. This includes a visit on the weekend too. What seems like a quiet little community may turn into a mad house late in the evenings when everyone is at home. Observe the noise and activity level and pay close attention to both pedestrians and traffic to assess the type of people and activities you can expect to encounter if you move into the area.
Scout the neighborhood for the proximity to vital services, such as grocery stores, laundromats, and medical facilities. Look for opportunities for leisure activities and hobbies, such a walking or biking trails, community parks, and other cultural event centers. If you rely on public transportation, check out the bus route and/or taxi service, too. If you or your family have any special needs, this is the time to find out if those needs can be met in the new community.
Research the crime rate for the neighborhood before you sign that lease. If it has a reputation for drug activity or violent crime, now is the time to find out. Check public records for police reports and browse newspapers for reports of crime-related activity. Your realtor can often provide you with this information.
If you have children, it is important to know which school district they will attend and to research its reputation. You can usually find school statistics online via your state department of education. This generally includes standard tests scores, dropout rates, and demographics. Read the school's profile, check newspapers for any news about the school, and talk to parents whose children attend the school. Complete your research by paying a visit to the school to find out for yourself if the school is right for your children.
Taking the time to assess your new location is as important as assessing whether the rental price is within your budget. So, go ahead and check it out before you make the commitment to moving your family into the community.