There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing a rental property. There are the obvious factors, such as price and location, but there are other important things to think about as well. Despite not owning the property, potential tenants should look at some structural and other physical conditions of the home before signing a lease. Unlike cosmetic deficiencies (an area rug can mask dated flooring, for instance), these critical items can effect your wallet or your health.
Check Around Windows and Doors
Make sure you check around the perimeter of windows and doors for drafts. This is particularly important in cooler climates, where such drafts can translate to a dramatic rise in your winter heating bills.
Some drafts around windows can be sealed off with a layer of clear plastic during cold weather, so small drafts are easily controlled. For drafts around doors, ask the landlord or rental management company to replace the weatherstripping before you move in.
Look for Signs of Moisture
Look for any signs of water damage, which could indicate long-term moisture issues. Key areas to check include any exposed plumbing (such as under sinks), in bathrooms, and in basements. Look for signs of wetness, mold or mildew growth, or rotting wood, which are all indications of moisture issues.
Long term moisture issues usually leads to mold growth. Exposure to some types of mold can have severe health implications. For those with mold allergies, living in an environment with a moisture problem could be life-threatening. It is best to avoid living in a place that has moisture issues.
Look for Exterior Holes
Look around the perimeter of the property and check it as well as you can for openings or holes that could let in pests or let out heat. Pay special attention to areas around the foundation and roof line, where breaches often occur. Living in a well-sealed house will help avoid annoyances like squirrels living in your walls and will help control your heating and cooling bills.
Look for Electrical Outlets
Make sure the apartment or house you are looking at has enough electrical outlets for your needs. Many rentals, particularly older homes, have limited electrical outlets. Consider how many appliances or other electrical items you have for each room, especially areas like the living room and kitchen.
While it i possible to plug in more things by using power strips, using too many power strips or plugging some high-energy items into power strips can be a fire hazard. If there is only one outlet in the kitchen and you plan to have your microwave, toaster, and coffee machine all plugged in at the same time, it’s probably not the best choice for you.