Things to Look For in a Rental Home Before Signing the Lease

before signing lease

Looking for a rental home can be an overwhelming process. There are so many things to look for, so many questions to ask- where do you even start? Be sure to do all your research before signing a lease.

If it’s your first time renting a home, here are some things to look for to get the best bang for your buck.

Research the Area

A significant factor in your decision will likely be the area you choose to rent. You can narrow down your top choices if you know where you want to live. 

Is there a good school system in that neighborhood? Is there a grocery store nearby? What’s the crime rate? Is there a usable public transport system close by if your car breaks down? It’s good to know the answers to each of these questions for the rental options you look at. 

Rules of the Landlord

Another area of difficulty is the terms and conditions of each property that you view. Make sure you thoroughly go over these with the landlord before signing anything. The last thing you want is to live in conditions you never even knew about. 

Some rules to keep in mind are quiet hours, pet tolerance, backyard upkeep, payment guidelines, and parking. Dive into the details of these topics to ensure you understand what they expect of you as a tenant. 

Financial Details

Research whether your landlord affiliates with a larger organization. The more you know about your renter, the better. You don’t want something to go south and damage your credit in the long run.

Find out about payment deadlines, exceptions, rent increase policies, and how much you will need to pay upfront. The more you know, the better you can prepare your budget. 


Be sure to thoroughly inspect the house you’re looking to rent. Ask the landlord what their plan is to cover any damages or issues with the home that may arise. This is a great thing to know if something goes wrong with the plumbing, A/C, water heater, etc. 

While looking at the home, you should check for a lawn, garden, pool, or anything that might mean more maintenance for you as a renter. Some landlords have access to affordable rates for home maintenance, so it’s worthwhile to look into. 

Ask Questions

As you are going through this process, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible. Before each phone call or appointment, take some time to review anything you might want clarity on. This will leave little to no room for miscommunication on an important detail or hidden realities.

Take notes of your questions and observations, writing them down the second you think of them. The last thing you want is to think of an important question after you’ve already signed the lease. 

For more on renting check out our article Is Rent-To-Own Actually A Scam. Before signing a lease you may consider other options.