Choosing a place to live is a big decision, whether you're renting or buying. Moving into a place that doesn't live up to expectations can make life miserable. From the landlord, to the appliances, even the building itself, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Having a good renters insurance policy can save you a lot of stress and headaches. Why deal with problems after the fact if you can avoid them altogether?
Here a few telltale signs that the place you're looking at might be more trouble than it's worth.
Price Too Good To Be True
Make sure you know the market and what price range makes sense for the type of housing you want. If you find one with a price that's just too good to be true, there's probably a problem hiding there somewhere. Worse yet, a bargain price on a house or condominium might be an indicator that the property is under (or about to be under) foreclosure proceedings.
Signs Of Water Damage
Leaking water can damage your possessions, create nasty, dangerous mold and basically make life miserable. Always look for stains on the ceiling or warped floor boards - these are signs of a leak. Pay special attention to the bathrooms and around the air conditioner. If you see stains, chances are there's more to come. Whether it's from bad plumbing or exterior leaks, water damage is a big red flag.
Evidence Of Bugs Or Pests
If you see pests of any kind when you're checking the place out, they're probably there all the time. Look for signs such as small droppings underneath cabinets, in the kitchen and any other place close to a water source. Check the window and door screens for holes and tears that pests can come through. And if you have an attic, take a flashlight and have a look.
From roaches to spiders to mice and rats, where you see one there are probably many, many more hiding and waiting to terrorize you.
Even if you're the "live and let live" kind of person, a messy neighborhood is a sign of trouble. Neighbors who don't respect their own yards or property most certainly won't care about yours.
Old Carpet Smell
Does the carpet smell? Is it worn out in certain spots? A good landlord knows that replacing the carpet as needed is one of the best ways to keep a place nice. If you're looking at a place where the carpet is obviously in poor condition, you're probably looking at a poor landlord.
Hard to Reach the Landlord
Is the landlord difficult to reach when you want to look at a house or an apartment? just imagine how difficult it will be to reach them if you need to have something fixed.
Ask them if they are local? If not, find out if they have someone locally that looks after the place.
"Basement" or "Loft" Apartment
Some basement or loft apartments are perfectly fine. Others may lack important safety features like emergency exits. If it's just a spare room or a loft above the garage, it's probably not safe and may not be legal to rent.
Missing Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are simple, cheap and required by law. If you're looking at a place that has outdated or no smoke alarms, there's a good chance that your landlord likes to cut corners. It's not safe and it should make you wonder what else isn't in working order.
It's great that a landlord takes care of their rental unit, but if they seem overly concerned about how you will treat things or suggest that they'll be around frequently, you may have a helicopter landlord. Essentially, it means that they don't trust you (or anyone) to take care of their precious place and they'll be judging your every move. Save yourself the headache.
Finding a good rental is important. You'll be living there. You want to know that the appliances work, the landlord is responsible, and the neighborhood is sound. Keeping your eyes open for these red flags while you're in the early stages can save you from a lot of headaches down the road.