How to Evaluate a Rental House
You're not alone. Cyberhomes blogger Lauren Baier Kim recently shared how she and her husband were turned down for a home loan, and, subsequently, started looking at rental homes. She describes a common need to accommodate visiting family members and friends. She reasons a rental home will provide more space than an apartment.
The number of rental homes is growing, too, but they're a slightly different animal than an rental apartment. Here are ways to evaluate a rental home compared to an apartment...
Your rental home's location is just as important as an apartment location. Don't make the faulty assumption that a cheaper home further away from work is always the best deal. Commuting costs can add up and even exceed the costs of city-center living according to the report, Bay Area Burden.
Bigger spaces mean more cleaning. If you're ready to stretch out be sure you're also ready to do more housekeeping or hire someone to do it for you.
Yard - Yes, or No?
Rental homes come with both a bonus and, potentially, a downside: the yard. Are you willing to maintain it? Is it enclosed for your pet?
Is a Lease Option Available?
If you're hell bent on eventually buying a house -- maybe even the house you're considering renting -- investigate if a lease option is available. An extra payment is made every month toward the downpayment on the home. This can be helpful if you haven't managed to save a downpayment, but, beware. If you decide not to purchase the house or don't make the payment each month you can lose all of the money you've put toward the lease option.
With all these choices apartment living sure does look nice and uncomplicated, doesn't it?