Things to Consider Before Renting


Statistics show more Americans choosing to rent a home instead of buying.

Renting can be appealing: You get a roof over your head without the burden of a mortgage, maintenance and other ownership responsibilities.

J.J. Montanaro, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERâ„¢ practitioner with USAA, says if a lease is the best option for you, keep in mind these financial considerations:

Pay attention to price. Spend no more than 28 percent of your pretax monthly income or less on housing is better.

Fully research fees. Investigate whether utilities, garbage and any other costs will add to your monthly lease.

Know whether appliances are included. Will the fridge, or washer and dryer cost extra?

The contract should include: length of the lease, required deposit and refund details, maintenance policies, pet policies, whether cosmetic changes are permitted, terms for roommates, and consequences for a missed payment. Also, know if you can rent month to month after your lease expires or if you're locked into a six-month term or longer.

Understand lease details.

Be aware of credit implications. Ask if your landlord reports payments to credit agencies and always pay your rent in full and on time.

Finally, purchase renters insurance. Your landlord's insurance covers damage to the structure only -- not your electronics and other cherished possessions. It's up to you to protect your personal possessions and your pocketbook.

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Personal Finance