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Look at you! You’re about to take a huge step in your life by signing a lease to your new abode! You’ve done the usual research. You know how much rent is a month along with what the location of the place is like and if any utilities are included. You feel confident in your choice and are just itching to sign to make it official! Before you do, are you sure you’ve done all the research you need? How confident are you that unseen issues aren’t hiding in the fine print of that contract? Here are 5 things you need to think about before making this lease official.

  1. Rent and Lease: We’re used to clicking that we agree to the terms and conditions that webservices say we must before we use their product without really reading what those terms and conditions are. However, failing to do so in the real world may lead to more issues in the long run. Check your lease’s term. Does it match what you and your landlord have discussed? What day of the month is your rent due? If you’re moving in or will be moving out partway into the month, do you still have to pay for the whole month?
  2. Renters Insurance: For those who haven’t rented a home before, renters insurance is a nifty thing to have in case something happens to your new domicile, such as fire or flood damage. Check with your landlord and your lease about whether or not you must provide proof that you have it before you can move into your new place.
  3. Guests: One of the best things about having your own place is the fact that you can have friends and loved ones over for a visit. However, if possible, get in writing about the rules about non-tenants. Find out if there is a limit to how many guests you may have over along with how long they can stay. Some leases don’t allow for overnight visitors and breaking these rules can result in fines or other penalties.
  4. Decorating: Sadly, with renting a space, you may not be able to add all the homey touches you would with buying your own home. Find out what your lease and landlord say about certain aesthetical changes, like hanging up pictures or repainting a wall with a different color. It would be a shame if that framed print of your favorite band would result in paying a penalty.
  5. Maintenance: Eventually, appliances and other parts of a domicile break down. Leaky pipes and broken ac units are as sure in life as death and taxes. Make sure you understand the policies your lease and landlord have in place for when you have general or emergency repairs. Many locations have a repair person, but they may not be available for emergency repairs. You may also have to file paperwork through certain channels to receive the help you need. You don’t want there to be a problem before you begin frantically looking for that information.

Renting your own home is a big responsibility. You want to make sure that you’re not moving into a bad living situation. Make sure to study your lease carefully and ask plenty of questions about things you don’t understand. Get any rules or regulations in writing if you can. It’s always best to have your bases covered so you can enjoy this new chapter of your life with peace of mind.