Renting a house is a big decision. Most renters are working with a deadline, but don’t rush in because you’ve fallen in love with a house. Don’t get distracted.  Here are four critical areas to check before you sign on the dotted line.

1. The appliances and the water
Turn on the stove and oven.  Check the refrigerator and freezer to see if they are cold.  Be sure that all appliances are clean and in working order.

Turn on all the faucets and flush the toilets.  Check the water pressure.  Make sure that there are no leaks. Check to make sure that there is hot water and that the hot and cold spigots are not reversed.

2. Vermin
Pests are common in warm states like Florida. Is there evidence of roaches?  Do you see mouse or bird droppings?

3. Security
Are the door handles tight?  Does the deadbolt work?  Do the doors and windows lock securely? Are there working smoke detectors?

4. The Smell Test
Do a little nosing around, literally.  Check out each room.  Does the house smell moldy; is there a sewage or gas smell?

By taking some extra time to check out a property, chances are you’ll have a better rental experience.