Solar, the Best Rental Home Amenity

Just outside downtown Los Angeles is the largest solar-powered housing community built by a single developer. Comstock, Crosser & Associates have listed 18 solar single-family homes and 19 townhouses this week according to The Los Angeles Times.

The Villages at Heritage Springs, located in an area called Santa Fe Springs, probably won't have any available rentals - yet.

The homes' Spanish-style solar roof tiles are expected to reduce energy costs by up to 60 percent. Other high-efficiencies built into the homes include dual pane windows, tankless water heaters and energy-efficient lighting, heating, and air conditioning. The townhomes in this gated community range in size from 1,390 to 1,910 square feet and cost between $385,000 and $457,000. The single family homes are 1,763 to 2,166 square feet with prices ranging from $485,000 to $576,000.

Energy efficiency is a great plus to have in a rental home. That amenity may be hard to come by but the best rental homes - regardless of location - share some similarities. Here's how to find the best rental home.

It's a cliché for a reason: location, location, location. Compare your target rental home's distance to your preferred amenities such as restaurants, bars, and shopping. Contrast that with the other rental homes in the area. Is it more or less convenient and therefore desirable?

The concept "you get what you pay for" is true... and false. Some rental homes will demand a price that might be high but that accurately reflects quality, craftsmanship, or style. However, some rental homes may include all three but be over- or under-priced. Critically review the amenities included in the cost. Will that sauna really be worth the extra money spent during your stay?

Does your rental home have the reputation of having an owner that promises more than can be delivered? An owner that is quick to charge but slow to fix problems? Ask neighbors if there's been a lot of turnover, that usually indicates a bad landlord. All of these factors can impact your enjoyment of that seemingly perfect rental home.

Click here to find and compare rental houses in your area.
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