17 April 2016

Rental Property Checklist: 13 Essentials Worth Considering

You’ve decided to move into an urban apartment. In fact, it’s only your second time moving.

What should you check for, and how should you approach the viewing? It is the answer to these questions that we ask in today’s blog – helping renters make the right, sensible move.

At Triumph, we’ve dealt with – quite literally – hundreds of tenants, all of whom have – at some point – asked questions about the state of a property, or who forgot to ask about the most essential points. This is understandable, particularly for first-time renters. However, to miss these essential points puts the renter at a distinct disadvantage, not least because it’s you – the renter – who has to take responsibility for a bad move.

The key message is this: learn about the property. Learn about its strengths while not ignoring its weaknesses. Learn about its locality, the way things work, and if the property has had any repairs lately. It is only by asking questions – the right questions – that you can keep yourself informed about whether that property is right for you. Failure to do so will not only result in considerable expense, but also a total feeling of alienation from a place you’ll call home.

The Complete Rental Property Checklist

And it is with this in mind that we turn our attention to the rental property checklist – a summary of just about everything you should consider if, or when, you decide to book a viewing.

First things first, think about the nuts and bolts of the property. Ponder the the following questions when you enter the property for the first time:

  1. Are the rooms in the building well lit? What about outdoor, or street, lighting when nightfall arrives? Are the stairs and elevator well lit, too? Do switches work?
  2. What about the locks? Make sure to check they not only work, but are secure.
  3. The same is true of doors, do they open and close properly? If not, why not?

It’s usually only after you’ve spent time living in the property that these small, but not insignificant issues, arise. Ensure you know about them as the viewing progresses. Think not only of the small, but also of the big. In this regard, try to think about:

  1. Check out the walls in each room. Are they showing any signs of damage? What about mould or leaks? In what state is the paintwork?
  2. What access and security is there to the property? Is there any CCTV? What about buzzers? What protections do you, as a prospective tenant, have?
  3. Don’t just look at the walls but also the floors, too. Are they showing signs of wear and tear? If so, determine the cause.
  4. Are the ceilings equipped with smoke detectors?

There’ll come a point during the viewing where the bedroom assessment will take place. This is most important, not least because it is your personal sanctuary of the property – a place where, if any in the property, you should be comfortable. Think about the following questions…

  1. Is there enough room not only for you, but for your clothes and belongings? Check out the closet space – is it sufficient?
  2. Can you open the room window? Indeed, think about this question when navigating throughout the rest of the property.
  3. If the room is ensuite, what is the state of the bathroom? Be sure to check taps, the state of the shower, how the toilet functions, and is there any mould?

Our rental property checklist has one purpose, and that purpose should be clear by now – and that is to equip prospective tenants to think critically about the property they’re entering. Don’t leave the property with a general idea, leave with a surgically detailed idea. Direct that same attitude toward the rest of the property, thinking about:

  1. How noise spreads throughout the building. Do the walls transmit sound to a greater degree than you would like?
  2. Do all electrical items work? Always make an effort to learn about the electrical state of your property – dealing with everything from lights and lamps, to appliances.
  3. Although unpleasant, think about vermin. It’s not uncommon for vermin to infest property, and it’s worth making an effort to check for any signs.

You might also think about the locality. Where are the shops and service providers? Are they afar or closer to home? What about crime – does the locality have a history of unscrupulous behaviour? Though we’ve covered thirteen essential areas, there is just one rule – to appraise, in the most critical way, every part of the property as if you were living there today. Then, and only then, can an honest appraisal of the property be made.

Final Thoughts

Our rental property checklist covers just about everything you should think of before setting foot in the property. It’s an approach that we – as real estate professionals – have developed over the years, after witnessing how tenants deal with their prospective new home. Making that big move is no small decision; it’s a choice that has enormous ramifications for your entire life. Investing the time, the effort, and the curiosity, to learn about the property could be your greatest investment yet.

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