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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Renting a Home in Charlotte, NC

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Renting a Home in Charlotte, NC

Did you know that the Charlotte, NC, region is predicted to grow at least 50% by 2050? Charlotte is a booming city with growing tech and banking industries and is home to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, making it a popular place to be.

If you're planning on moving to Charlotte, NC, you have a lot on your plate, from packing and securing a new job to finding a place to live. If you're looking at renting a home in Charlotte, you'll make the process a lot easier on yourself if you know what mistakes to avoid.

Keep reading this guide to learn common mistakes you must avoid when searching for a rental home in Charlotte!

Not Knowing Your Budget

One of the biggest mistakes people make revolves around finances. If you don't have a good handle on your current budget, you need to change this before renting a home. Remember, renting a home involves other costs besides just the rental payment itself, such as:

  • Pet deposit and monthly fees
  • Utilities not included in your monthly rent
  • Additional services like internet and cable
  • Renter's insurance
  • Rental application fees

You'll also have to prepare for additional costs upfront. Most of the time, you'll need to have enough money to pay a security deposit before you move in. The deposit amount is typically a month of rent, sometimes higher. You may also have to prepare to pay the first and last month's rent upfront. 

If you don't have this deposit ready, it can delay your ability to move in and even disqualify you from the rental altogether.

Be sure to get the details before you apply so you can prepare your finances accordingly.

Not Taking the Time to Read the Rental Agreement

Moving to a new city is stressful, and people are often in a hurry to find a rental home. As a result, they don't take the time to read the fine print of the rental agreement. If you don't take the time to do this, you may agree to rules and policies that you aren't aware of.

Some common rental policies to watch out for include:

  • Your rights as a tenant
  • Your landlord's rights
  • Pet policies
  • The utilities you're responsible for
  • Guest restrictions
  • Policies on adding roommates
  • The length of the lease agreement
  • What you need to do when your lease expires
  • Rental increases during the lease term
  • Policies for maintenance and repairs

It's also essential to find out who you need to go to if you have any complaints or problems with the rental property overall.

Remember, a lease is a legally binding agreement, and you need to take it seriously. Don't be afraid to take a day to read it over carefully, so you understand the terms.

Not Being Unprepared For the Rental Application Process

If you've never rented anywhere before, you might not understand what the process of renting a home entails.

You must be prepared to meet the rental requirements of the property you're considering. If you're renting from a private landlord, be sure to ask what the specific requirements are.

If you're going through a property management company to secure a rental, they usually list the requirements online.

You'll typically need to earn a gross monthly income that's at least three times the amount of the monthly rent. You'll also need to ensure you have all the documents you need, which typically include the following:

  • Personal references
  • Past landlord references
  • A valid form of identification
  • Social security card
  • Proof of rental history
  • Three months of pay stubs from your employer

You'll also need to go through a credit check, criminal history check, and employment verification. Your landlord will also verify your rental history and check for past evictions.

Landlords must ensure they're renting to someone trustworthy who will make monthly rental payments on time and keep the property in good condition.

If you have any problems with your credit score or need to update your identification, be sure to take care of this before you start applying for rental homes.

Not Having a Cosigner Available

If this is your first time renting a home or you've had problems with your credit score in the past, you may need someone to cosign your lease so you'll qualify for the rental.

Your cosigner will need to meet the same income requirements as you do and have a good credit score.

You can ask a trusted friend or family member to cosign for you. If you can't find a friend or family member that's able to cosign for you, you might need to consider using a cosigning company to cosign the lease for you.

These companies serve as a guarantor to your lease and give your landlord extra assurance that you'll pay your rent on time.

Not Reading Tenant Reviews

It's essential to take your time to do thorough research before renting a home. You should begin by researching the landlord associated with each rental you're considering. 

You can do this by visiting the landlord's social media page or website. If a property management company manages the rental properties you're looking at, then take a look at their website. A reputable property management company will include customer testimonials on its website.

Checking Google and reading tenant reviews will give you a good idea of how other people feel about the overall rental experience. Check for comments about things like:

  • How responsive the landlord or property management company is to messages
  • How understanding they are about problems that occur
  • Any safety problems with the rental
  • If there are complaints about rude or sarcastic behavior

Another great source of information is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can learn about complaints and reviews and see the overall rating of the landlord or property management company.

Not Comparing Rental Home Prices

Don't settle for the first rental home you find. Be sure to start your search early to begin comparing home prices in the Charlotte area.

A great place to start is a property management website like Bottom Line Property Management, where you can easily search through available rental homes.

You can look through the different homes and see what different features they offer, such as pools, fireplaces, decks, and stainless steel appliances. Take this time to decide what features you can't live without.

Then you can make a list of your top five choices and make a comparison from there. When you do this, you'll not only get a better deal, but you'll also find a rental home you're happy with long-term.

Not Evaluating the Neighborhood

Don't get so caught up in your new rental home that you forget to evaluate the neighborhood it's in. If you've never been to the city or have only had limited visits, you're much more likely to overlook this part to find a home quickly.

Your first step is to do some online research. Start by looking up the history of the neighborhood. You can also easily find plenty of data online about the neighborhood you're considering, like:

  • Walkability score
  • Crime statistics
  • School information
  • Forecasts of the local housing market
  • Public transit options

When you're looking at renting homes in Charlotte, NC, you'll need to be sure you live in a safe area close to your workplace and major shopping centers. Also, check out the closest businesses and attractions.

Next, take a tour of the neighborhood during the daytime and nighttime to see how safe it is and how you feel about the area in general. 

Finally, don't be afraid to talk to the people that actually live here. The best way to conduct research is to ask the people who know the neighborhood best. An easy way to do this is to reach out to public Facebook groups or use apps like Nextdoor.

Not Touring Potential Rental Homes Before Signing a Lease

If you're moving to Charlotte from another state, it's all too easy to want to jump in and sign a lease and hope for the best. However, this can backfire and leave you unhappy with the rental for your lease term.

Keep in mind that rooms can appear larger in person, and you typically won't see issues like damage to the interior in pictures. You also won't be able to assess things like odors, stains, or loud noises from your neighbors.

Also, while virtual tours help narrow down properties, you still won't be able to see the home in person.

In addition, seeing a potential rental in person gives you the chance to request specific updates or repairs before you move in, like a cracked window. If you're going to spend the money on a rental, you need to make sure it's move-in-ready and safe during your time there.

A great way to navigate this is to compile a list of options for homes and schedule a trip to the Charlotte area to take tours of each home. 

You can then decide to take the next steps to secure a rental while you're there. Doing this will lessen the chances of any unpleasant surprises when you make your move for good.

Not Doing a Walkthrough When You Move In

Don't forget, no matter how great a rental looks at first sight, you're responsible for any damages that occur when you're living there. You also won't get your security deposit back at the end of your lease.

The last thing you need is to be charged for damages that you didn't cause in the first place. So, you'll need to be sure to do a complete walkthrough and check for issues such as:

  • Cracks in the walls or ceilings
  • Cracks in the windows
  • Paint chips
  • Stains on the carpets or floors
  • Water damage
  • Problems with light fixtures and ceiling fans
  • Non-functional electrical outlets
  • Problems with the door locks

Be sure to take pictures to document every issue you see. Also, take photos of every room in the rental home so you can clearly see its condition when you first move in. Taking pictures provides you with invaluable evidence when you move out in case there is a dispute with your landlord.

Not Getting Rental Insurance

Rental insurance is crucial for protecting your valuables. It also covers any accidents or unexpected problems that might occur with your rental home.

renter insurance policy or tenant insurance is a type of insurance coverage that protects people who live in rental homes or apartments. Typically, a rental insurance policy will include coverage for personal property, such as:

  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Appliances you own
  • Electronics
  • Sporting goods like bicycles

Types of Coverage

Renters insurance also covers theft in the event there is a break-in at your rental property. It also covers losses related to fires or weather damage.

Some policies include personal liability insurance, which covers you if someone is accidentally injured in your home. You may want to look at scheduled personal property coverage, which will cover personal valuables like jewelry, antiques, art, or coin collections.

Finally, renters insurance will cover additional living expenses if you need to leave your rental home for a while due to problems like fire damage. You'll usually get costs like hotel bills and meals covered.

The good news is rental insurance is relatively inexpensive. So, be sure to protect yourself and not overlook getting this coverage in place before you move.

Are You Moving to Charlotte, NC, Soon?

Now that you know the mistakes to avoid when searching for homes for rent in Charlotte, NC, the rental process will go much more smoothly.

If you're moving to Charlotte, NC, soon, you can make the process much easier by turning to Bottom Line Property Management. We can help you find the perfect rental home and make the application process as straightforward as possible. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying your time living in Charlotte.

We've been helping people find rental homes in Charlotte, NC, for over 55 years and offer the best customer support in the industry.

Be sure to contact us today to see what rental homes are best for you!

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