Finding a new place to stay can be a headache, and nothing is worse than moving into a new home only to discover that it will not do after all. Humid houses with a mold problem, old accounts that have not been settled and bug infestations are some of the things that can completely break a good rental deal. Before you sign your lease, you need to make sure to double check that everything is in perfect order for after you decide to move in. Here is a list of five things you should definitely consider before deciding on your new home:

  • Make note of existing damages: Even if you were not responsible for any prior damages to the place, you could find yourself facing a harsh reduction in your deposit fee. If the landlord finds something damaged after you sign your lease, you could be held liable. Carefully assess every part of the house, and take pictures to ensure that you have proof in case you are asked to pay. If you find a flaw while assessing, make sure to bring it to your landlord’s notice so they can fix it before you sign your lease. Make sure you do not customize the house before getting approval from the landlord first. That nifty new painting you just hung up could leave a hole in the wall that could cause a hole in your pocket.
  • Know exactly what your rent covers: Different rent packages come with different offers. Some landlords only take the rent and leave the utilities to you, but some offer packages that include some or all utilities. Your water bill, internet bill and even your electricity and gas bill could be covered by your rent depending on the package. Sometimes, these packages are limited –if you live in an apartment building where everyone gets the same TV channels, then upgrading that could prove to be difficult.
  • The binding lease: Once you sign your lease, you are bound to stay at that place until the lease expires. You could move out into a new place, but you would still have to keep paying the rent on your lease until the term period ends. Carefully reading the lease-termination section of your agreement is important. Information such as the notice period you would have to provide before renewing your lease are available and could put you in an advantageous position when negotiating.
  • Negotiating rent: Lease agreements can be flexible depending on your needs. You are allowed to ask your landlord to improve upon a fixture, change appliances, reduce rent, or add to or subtract from the terms of the rental agreement. Be polite, ask questions and find out as much as you can about the place and ensure that you will have a pleasant living experience in your new home.
  • A contract in writing: Absolutely nothing is official until you carefully read and sign your rental agreement. Never move into a new house before signing, and ensure that all the terms you negotiated over your house is a part of the written deal. Any new amenities you wanted, any and all upgrades, pre-existing damages you do not want responsibility for and the rental price are all important information that should be a part of the written agreement.

The key to a stress-free shift into a new rented place is to make sure you have done your background check and there are no unpleasant surprises waiting for you in your new home.