Looking for affordable homes for rent in Charlotte, NC? That's good. It means that you're being careful to consider the cost so you don't go over budget.
Still, your monthly rate isn't the only thing you need to be careful about. For instance, can you trust the landlord you're renting from?
More importantly, has the landlord put all of their promises in writing within the rental agreement? As the tenant, what are your rights and responsibilities?
Is the property in good condition? And is it located in a decent neighborhood? For that matter, are you allowed the protection of renters insurance?
These are some of the essential questions you must ask when browsing through North Carolina real estate listings. And there are more where those came from.
But don't feel overwhelmed. We've compiled all of these concerns into one comprehensive checklist. Use these tips to find the best private homes for rent in Charlotte, NC.
1. List Your Needs and Wants
What are you looking for in a rental property? We aren't being rhetorical.
You need to answer this now, in writing. Otherwise, you'll almost certainly overlook something. And, by the time you realize that, it may be too late to back out.
Let's start with the things you absolutely need. This includes:
- Adequate number of bedrooms/bathrooms
- Enough square footage and storage space
- Enough square footage in the yard
- Pets accepted
- Wheelchair accessibility
Next, think of optional features that are still very important to you. Furthermore, when considering these features, remember to keep your future in mind.
For example, if you don't currently have a dog, you might want one someday. And having an extra bedroom is important in case you decide to have more kids.
List Your "Don't Wants," Too
Also, don't forget about any features you need excluded from the home. Consider, for instance, that stairs require climbing and trees require extra raking.
All that extra exertion might be a bad choice for those with certain health conditions, like asthma. Similarly, renters who have frequent migraines probably don't want a home that gets a lot of sunlight.
2. Understand Your Location Options
Next, have you decided exactly where you're relocating? There are a lot of neighborhoods to consider when moving to Charlotte, NC.
First, decide what type of neighborhood you want (ritzy, cheap, good for young children, etc.). Then, research your options thoroughly.
Also, find out what's adjacent to these properties. We don't just mean schools, hospitals, and grocery stores. You want to make sure you're not too close to an airport, train tracks, or a waste management plant.
3. Calculate Your Commute
Speaking of adjacent properties, don't assume that the institutions you need are "close enough." Calculate your typical commute by routing it on a map app.
Start with your commute to work. Then include your round trip to:
- The dentist
- The doctor
- The grocery store
- The pharmacy
- Your child's school
- Your church
- Automotive services
Remember that your commute can have a profound impact on your monthly cost of living. So, calculate the total commute time of any errands you'd typically drive to each week. Paying more for rent might be worth it if it reduces your commute.
4. Understand Seasonal Trends
Did you know that the rates for new renters are higher in the summer? That's because summer is the most competitive season for the moving industry.
For one thing, summer weather is more favorable for relocating than winter weather. Plus, many college students move to or away from school during the break.
This increases the demand for rental properties. In response, the landlords increase their rates.
The bottom line is, you'll pay lower rates if you move in winter, specifically from December to March. But, you'll find a better selection if you move during the summer (May through October).
5. Do Not Go Above Your Budget
It can be very tempting to go over budget for that "perfect" rental home. This is an extremely bad idea.
For one thing, you've calculated your budget very carefully and for a reason. If you break your own budget rules, you will go broke.
Plus, whenever you move to a new area, the cost of living is different in unexpected ways. And what if your car insurance goes up next month? Or what if you get laid off?
The point is, if the home is too expensive to rent, then it's not "perfect." Staying within your budget is more important than any other features on your wishlist.
6. Search Online
You should now have a decently long list of your rental property qualifications. So now, browsing for ideal rental properties is pretty straightforward.
Simply input your wishlist into the search parameters of a property listing website. Write down/bookmark any that look promising. And don't forget to calculate your commute from these locations.
7. Research the Landlord
A sad fact about moving is that some landlords really are out to get you. And they often succeed because they know more about landlord/tenant laws than most of their applicants. This knowledge includes plenty of loopholes they can use against you.
So, find out what you can about the landlord/property management company you're dealing with. Research their company online and question other tenants if possible.
8. Inspect the Property
Renters typically don't get home inspections. So you'll have to inspect the property for yourself.
Be very thorough in this. Also, it's a good idea to bring someone who has some expertise in this area.
In any case, look for any and all signs of disrepair. Write them down as you notice them.
Ask the landlord about these issues. Then, later, ask others who are knowledgeable about such things. This cross-referencing makes it easy to see if the landlord's hiding anything.
Furthermore, any obvious signs of poor maintenance should be an instant deal-breaker. A responsible landlord would fix these problems before showing the property to applicants.
9. Review the Official Landlord/Tenant Guidelines
Before you sign anything, make sure you understand the official landlord/tenant guidelines for North Carolina. It only takes a few minutes to read this document.
But it's extremely important that you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. This way, your landlord can't pull any wool over your eyes.
10. Read and Amend Your Lease
Now that you're clear about your tenant responsibilities, stand up for your rights. That is, make sure your lease contract is in agreement with these standards.
Furthermore, remember your wishlist. Particularly, does your landlord allow pets, interior repainting, or anything else on your list?
If so, it must be written in the contract. Otherwise, there's no provable record that the landlord agrees to these terms.
11. Review HOA Guidelines
A lot of single-family homes for rent belong to an HOA or some similar organization. Such neighborhoods have community standards to which all residents must adhere.
This may add to your required duties as a tenant, in addition to the tenant guidelines referred to above. Find out about this before you sign the rental agreement.
12. Consider Bonus Amenities
Does this neighborhood offer any community benefits for its residents? Some neighborhoods, for example, offer clubhouses with a swimming pool and exercise equipment.
Sometimes, such amenities are free for tenants to use. Other times, they cost an HOA fee, which is charged to the tenant. So be sure to ask about this.
13. Ask About a Discount
Some landlords offer discounted rent in certain situations. A very common example is when landlords reduce the rate for long-term tenants. Find out if your landlord's rates differ depending on the length of the lease or any other factors.
14. Be Sure to Get Renters Insurance
There are infinite things that can go wrong after you relocate: fires, robberies, etc. That's why homeowners always get insurance. Yet, for some reason, renters are far less likely to insure their possessions.
Partly, this is because some rental properties don't offer this option. A lot of the time, though, renters simply don't think about it.
Living in an uninsured home is a dangerous and unnecessary risk. We highly encourage you to ask your potential landlord about renters insurance. If this isn't an option, choose a different home.
Find Homes For Rent in Charlotte, NC With These Tips
Finding an affordable rental home doesn't have to be a shot in the dark. Keep this guide and use these tips to find the best homes for rent in Charlotte, NC.
In fact, you can start using these tips right now. Before you go, browse our Charlotte real estate listings here.