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    Read your contract carefully

     

    Read Your Contract Carefully Many renters barely even skim their rental agreement before signing their name at the bottom. Most renters are primarily concerned with the monthly charges, one time only fees, required deposits and other financial matters. Once they verify this information is accurate according to their conversations with the leasing agent, they often sign the agreement with no questions asked. This is a mistake because a rental agreement is a legal contract which may have a host of important information which the renter should be aware of before signing the document. Considering a Roommate? Those who are considering the possibility of a roommate may mistakenly believe this is possible because they are living alone and have two bedrooms and two bedrooms. These uninformed renters may see an opportunity to share their rent with another. However, some rental agreements strictly prohibit renters from soliciting their own roommates and allowing an additional person to move into the apartment after the lease is already signed. Renters who violate this agreement may face harsh penalties. These penalties may even include eviction. Renters who want to have the option of a roommate should ideally make this decision before the contract is signed. This will enable the homeowner to put provisions into the contract to allow for the renter to add an additional resident at any time. The leasing agent may still require final approval of your roommate but this approval process will likely be dependent on the results of a background check as well as a check of the potential roommate’s finances. Want to Adopt a Pet? Renters who wish to adopt a pet in the near future should also familiarize themselves with the rental agreement. This is important because restrictions on the types, size and specific breed of pets apply not only when the renter moves in but throughout the terms of his rental agreement. This means a renter who has signed contractual documents stating they do not own any of the prohibited pets such as dogs or cats are not free to purchase or adopt additional pets during the course of the rental agreement. Therefore, renters who do not have pets but plan to adopt or purchase pets in the near future should read the contract documents as if they are already a pet owner and decide whether or not to sign based on the statements within the policy. Plan on Having Visitors Regularly? Even renters who have regular overnight guests should familiarize themselves with their rental agreement before signing the document. This is important because frequent guests may actually be considered residents in some situations. This will likely depend on the specific rental agreement but it is not entirely uncommon for leasing agents to specify that visitors who spend a specific number of nights on the property per month are considered to be residents of the apartment. This is important because the rental agreement may clearly identify how many people may reside in the apartment at any one time. Visitors who are staying at the apartment too often may put the resident at risk of being accused of having additional persons living in the apartment. In some situations this might be considered cause for eviction. For this reason, the renter should be sure he is familiar with the terms of the agreement before allowing others to spend the night in the apartment on a regular basis. Word count 566

         
    Rent to own

     

    Rent to Own Some potential homeowners who are not able to purchase a home right away consider rent to own options instead. A rent to own option, often referred to as a lease, is essentially a rental contract for the rental of a property which includes the stipulation that the renter will be given the option of purchasing the property at the conclusion of the lease. This type of rental agreement may not be worthwhile for all renters but there are some who will find this type of agreement to suit their needs quite well. In particular renters with bad credit who might be unable to buy a home otherwise and renters who aren’t quite sure they really want to buy a home. It can also be a worthwhile agreement for homeowners who are planning to sell their home buy may not want to sell it immediately. When Your Credit is Bad Potential homeowners with bad credit may find a rent to own situation may be just what they are looking for to help them purchase their dream home. There are a variety of financing options currently available and it is likely even homeowners with poor credit can find a financing option but it is not likely this option will be favorable. Homeowners with poor credit are often shackled with unfavorable loan terms such as higher interest rates, requirements to pay points and adjustable rate mortgages instead of fixed rate mortgages. In these situations, it might be worthwhile for the renter to repair his credit before attempting to purchase a home. One of the best ways to repair credit is to maintain good credit in the present and into the future. Most blemishes on credit reports are erased after a certain period of time. Renters who have poor credit can work on repaying their current debts in a timely fashion and with time their credit score will improve. During this time participating in a rent to own program allows the renter additional time to repair his credit and may also allow the renter to accumulate financial resources which will enable him to purchase the home when the lease period is over. When You Just Aren’t Ready to Buy a Home Some renters opt for a rent to own program when they aren’t quite sure they really want to own a home. In these types of agreements, renters are given the option of purchasing the home at the end of the agreement period but they are not obligated to purchase this home. This allows the renter to see what it is like to own a home without having to commit to homeownership. Renters who are renting a home may learn a great deal about homeownership during the rental period. This may include information about maintaining the landscaping of the property and dealing with conflicts with neighbors. It may also entail caring for and maintaining a significantly larger domicile than most apartment renters have to maintain. Some renters are not quite sure they are ready to handle all of these issues and may use a rent to own agreement as a trial period to determine whether or not homeownership suits them. When the Homeowner Just Isn’t Ready to Sell Some homeowners offer a rent to own option when they plan to sell their home but do not want to do so immediately. Some homeowners may be hoping for property values to rise before they sell their home so they can either regain the amount they have invested in the house or profit from the purchase price of the home. These homeowners might choose to rent out their home during this time and offer the renter the option of purchasing the house after a set time period. This enables the seller to earn an income from rent while they are no longer living in the home. The rent they charge to the renter is often enough to cover the mortgage and yield a profit making it a financially wise decision for the seller. Word count 670

         
    Rental swaps

     

    Rental Swaps Some vacationers find a rental swap to be an ideal situation when they are traveling. Homeowners, especially in desired locations, may find there is a great deal of interest from others who would like to rent their home for a short period of time. Typically this is about one to three weeks although it may be longer or shorter in some cases. A rental swap is essentially where a homeowner in one location offers the use of their home to another homeowner in exchange for use of the other homeowners home. Ideally these swaps will take place concurrently but in some situations swaps are organized at different times of the year. A Rental Swap Saves You Money For many a rental swap is worth considering because it can result in a tremendous financial savings. Lodging often accounts for a large portion of a vacationers travel expenses. By eliminating these costs the vacationer may find they are able to add additional aspects to their vacation. For example, by eliminating lodging costs, a vacationer may have money left over in the travel budget to see a few plays, eat dinner at extravagant restaurants or purchase tickets to sporting events. A rental swap, however, does not always automatically translate to a financial savings. Consider the cost of staying in a hotel within walking distance to major attractions as opposed to participating in a rental swap 10-20 miles away from most major attractions. In the case of the rental swap, the vacationer will most likely have to rent a car during their stay but might not have to do so when staying in a hotel. The need for a car, whether or not the kitchen in a rental swap will be utilized to cook meals and other factors should be considered in determining whether a rental swap or hotel stay is more financially logical. A Rental Swap is More Comfortable than a Hotel In most cases a rental swap usually results in a more comfortable stay than a visit to a hotel. Of course there will always be situations in which the quality and even the size of the hotel may be superior to the conditions of the rental shop but for the most part, vacationers usually feel more comfortable in a rental swap situation. Staying in a home typically provides the vacationer with more privacy as well as the ability to spread out a little more. This can be very beneficial for keeping the peace especially for large families who may quickly feel overcrowded in a hotel situation. There are Risks to a Rental Swap While a rental swap may certainly seem appealing, there are some inherent risks to this type of lodging situation. First of all the possibility of the rental property not being exactly as described is a very real risk. Homeowners may exaggerate the appeal of their property either intentionally or unintentionally. Regardless of the intent of the homeowner, the vacationer may still find themselves in a situation where they are disappointed with the accommodations. This may be because the house is not as large or well appointed as described or because the house is older and less well maintained than depicted. Another risk to a rental shop is the possibility of the other homeowner not noting the correct dates. Although this is also a possibility with a hotel, it can be more troubling when the vacationer was counting on the rental swap for their accommodations during the stay. While a hotel might make every effort to accommodate the hotel guests when there is a mistake, homeowners in a rental swap may not have the available resources to find an alternate place for the vacationers to stay. One final risk which exists in a rental swap, is potential damage to your own property when you allow others to use the property. Homeowners can work to minimize the trouble in these situations by screening those who they are considering for a rental swap carefully. Additionally, homeowners can take security measures by alerting the police as well as neighbors that a stranger will be staying in the home. This will help everyone to be more vigilant and aware of the potential for problems. Word count 703

         
    Renting with dogs

     

    Renting with Dogs Renters who have a dog or more than one dog may face additional challenges when renting an apartment or a house. One of the primary challenges the renters may face is finding a living situation which is acceptable to them and also willing to accept their pets. This can be difficult as many rental properties do not allow dogs at all. Those who do allow animals on the property may place certain restrictions on they size and breed of dog which may reside on the property. Finding an Acceptable Living Situation The first step in renting with dogs is to find an acceptable living situation. For those who wish to rent with dogs, the first question to be asked should be whether or not dogs are allowed to live on the property. This is important because it can save the renter a great deal of time. The renter may otherwise invest a great deal of time learning more about the property or even undergoing a credit check only to find out pet are not permitted. For some dog owners, finding a rental situation which allows dogs is not the end of the search. The renter should also confirm the type of dog he owns will be allowed to live on the property. This may include both the size of the dog as well as the breed as some apartment complexes place limitations on the size of the dog and also prohibit certain breeds. Again confirming these facts early in the search for an apartment can be a tremendous time savings especially for those who own large or commonly banned breeds. Renters should also consider the surrounding area when selecting a rental property. An ideal location would be one in which there is an adequate location to walk and exercise the dogs. Areas with large grassy areas may be ideal while areas which do not have a location to walk a dog may be problematic. Read Contracts Carefully Renters who have dogs should read their contract carefully before making a decision to rent a particular property. This is important because many landlords may impose restrictions on renters who own dogs. These restrictions may include, but are not limited to, requiring an additional security deposit for the renter, requiring specific cleaning methods on the carpets after the renter vacates the apartment and holding the renter responsible if the dog engages in nuisance barking. Nuisance barking can be a problem in apartment situations where the apartments are located close together and even share a common wall. Renters should be aware that in some situations, nuisance barking can be a cause for eviction. For these reasons, renters who own dogs should take the time to familiarize themselves with the rental contract. Take Care of Your Rental Property Finally, renters who have dogs may have to take additional efforts to maintain their apartment. This may include more diligent cleaning, especially of the carpets. Renters with dogs should respond quickly to accidents in the house to minimize the possibility of permanent staining and odors. Each accident should be addressed immediately and every effort should be made to clean the affected area completely. Renters with dogs should also vacuum regularly especially if their dog is a heavy shedder. This will help to keep the living environment cleaner and will also minimize the amount of cleaning required when the renter vacates the property. Regularly vacuuming will prevent hair from being embedded into the carpet so deeply that it is difficult to remove. Finally, renters with dogs should take care to pick up after their dogs while on walks and to keep their dogs leashed while in common areas. Many cities have leash laws and laws regarding picking up after dogs. Even if these laws are not in effect, renters should follow these policies as a courtesy to their neighbors. Additionally, keeping dogs on leashes during walks helps to ensure their safety by preventing them from running into the street. Word count 664

         
    Saving money by renting

     

    Saving Money by Renting For many renters the possibility of using a rental situation to save money is a foreign idea. These renters often bemoan the fact that they have to rent a property rather than purchase a property because they feel as though not owning the property is basically throwing money away each month. However, this is not entirely true. While there are certainly benefits to homeownership and building equity homeowners can also benefit financially by renting an apartment rather than purchasing a home. While it is certainly true that money spent each month on rent does not get the renter any closer to homeownership while each monthly mortgage payment makes the homeowner one step closer to owning the property completely. However, this is not the whole story. Renters should also consider the amount of money they will be able to save annually for the purpose of purchasing a home by living in a rental property right now. A Smaller Apartment Can Lead to a Bigger House Some would be homeowners find renting a small apartment can allow them to start saving for the purpose of purchasing a house in the future. Renters who are willing to sacrifice comfort now and stay in the smallest apartment possible will likely be able to save the most money towards purchasing a home. In general the monthly rent for an apartment is based on a value per square foot. This value may vary slightly from one property to the next but is likely to be very similar in properties in the same general area. This means apartments which are smaller in terms of square footage are likely to be less expensive overall. Therefore renters who would normally feel more comfortable and able to spread out might opt for a smaller apartment just so they can begin saving more money for their home purchase. Budget Wisely to Save Money Renters who want to save money for the purchase of a home while renting an apartment should understand their monthly rent is not the only factor which may prevent them from saving money while they rent. For example entertainment costs should carefully be considered when a renter is trying to save money. Most rental properties have a fully equipped kitchen making it ideal for the renter to prepare meals at home as opposed to going out to eat. Renters who cut down on eating dinner out may find they are able to save quite a bit of money each year. Likewise renters who are spending an excess amount of money on superfluous items may have difficulty saving for a house while renting an apartment. Examining all current monthly expenditures can help the renter to determine where there is the potential for financial savings. Making changes such as debt consolidation may be one way to decrease monthly bills but this is certainly not the only solution. Renters can make other changes such as canceling subscriptions to premium movie channels, minimizing cell phone plans to include only the amount of minutes used each month and making changes to insurance plans to result in an overall savings. Changes to insurance plans may include having your car and renter’s insurance covered by the same carrier. Many carriers offer discounted services to renters who are willing to bundle their services. All of these slight changes can help to enable a renter to save money for a home purchase in the future. Word count 572

         
    Sharing a rental with a roommate

     

    Sharing a Rental with a Roommate Sharing a rental property, whether it is an apartment or a house, can be either a dream come true or a living nightmare. There are many advantages to having a roommate; however, there are also disadvantages. When these disadvantages are severe they can result in an uncomfortable living environment in some situations and even a dangerous living environment in other situations. There are a couple of ways a renter can protect themselves when sharing their rental property with a roommate. This includes screening the potential roommate carefully and including the roommate on the rental agreement. The Advantages and Disadvantages to Having a Roommate Having a roommate can certainly be advantageous in some situations. The primary advantage is financial. Renters who opt to have a roommate, essentially cut their rent in half if they opt to have one roommate or in thirds if they opt to have two roommates. This is ideal for renters who would like to have a larger apartment but would not be able to afford such an apartment without the assistance of a roommate. Another advantage to having a roommate is the opportunity to share household responsibilities with the roommate. Of course this is only an advantage when the roommate is willing to do his share of the work on a regular basis. If this is not the case, it may result in a huge disadvantage which will be covered briefly in the section on disadvantages. One of the most significant disadvantages to having a roommate is a lack of privacy. Those who live alone do not ever have to worry about not having time to themselves while they are in their apartment. However, when a renter has a roommate, there is no guarantee the renter will ever have any time to himself while he is in the apartment. Another disadvantage to having a roommate is the distribution of household responsibilities may not always be even. Roommates should have a discussion regarding the household responsibilities such as cleaning the common areas but there is always the possibility that one roommate may not do his share of the work. When this happens it can create conflict and resentment among the roommates. This conflict can make the living situation quite uncomfortable. Select a Compatible Roommate When selecting a roommate, the renter should be careful to select a compatible roommate. In the previous section we discussed how conflicts can arise when one roommate does not do his share of the cleaning. However, incompatible cleaning styles are only a small portion of the compatibility issues roommates may face. One important issue is entertaining. If one roommate has visitors at the apartment often, it can cause problems if the other roommate is not comfortable with this. Even the times in which the roommates normally sleep can cause problems. If one roommate goes to bed early and wakes up at 4:00 am, it can be problematic if the other roommate likes to stay up late and not wake up until 9:00 am. In this case the roommates may not only begin to get on each other’s nerves but they may also begin to adversely affect the other’s job or social life. Include the Roommate on the Rental Agreement Finally, renters should be sure to include their roommate or roommates on the rental agreement. This is very important because it helps to protect all of the roommates. Inclusion of all of the roommates prevents one roommate from being able to ask another to leave unjustly. This may occur when conflicts arise but inclusion on the rental agreement ensures each of the roommates has a right to live on the property. Placing each of the roommates’ names on the rental agreement also prevents one roommate from not making their rent payments in a timely manner. It will also help to prevent one roommate from being held legally responsible for not paying the rent on time by the leasing agent. Word count 660

         
    Should you rent a house or an apartment

     

    Should You Rent A House Or An Apartment? Deciding whether to rent an apartment or a house can be a very difficult decision for some renters. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each option. The renter should carefully consider these points when making his decision. Whether or not an apartment rental or a home rental is ideal for a particular renter will largely depend on his personal preference as well as his current needs in a living situation.

    For some renting an apartment is perfect while others find a home rental meets their needs best. This article will examine the advantages and disadvantages of each situation to help readers make a more informed decision regarding the type of rental situation which may be beneficial to them. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting a House There are many advantages to renting a house as opposed to an apartment. One of the primary advantages is this situation affords renters who would normally be unable to afford to purchase a house the opportunity to live in a house for a much more affordable price. Another advantage to renting a house is it may offer the renter many more options. Apartments are usually pretty standard in terms of size, number of bedrooms and number of bathrooms. Renters who have specific needs such as five bathrooms and three bedrooms may have a difficult time finding an apartment with these specifications but may find rental homes which offer these options. Location is often another advantage associated with renting a house. Apartments are usually situated in more commercial areas while houses available for rent can usually be found in more residential areas. Many renters favor this situation because it makes their rental property feel more secluded. Many house rentals also include a backyard which is desirable for renters with children or pets. One of the major disadvantages to renting a house, is there may not be a great deal of certainty regarding the amount of time the renter will be allowed to rent the house. While a contract may protect the rights of the renter for a certain period of time, there are no guarantees the homeowner will extend the contract beyond the existing terms. This means as the contract is due to expire; the renter may be given notice that the house would not be available for rent in the future. Conversely, this situation is rare in apartments and most renters are confident there will be the opportunity to renew their lease each time it expires. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Renting an Apartment Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of renting an apartment is the amenities which are often available when renting an apartment in an apartment complex as opposed to renting a home or even renting an apartment in a private home. Amenities such as pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms, saunas, meeting rooms and theaters are just a few of the amenities often offered when renting an apartment. Affordability is another advantage to renting an apartment. Rent for an apartment is usually significantly lower than rent for a house. Although the apartment may be significantly smaller than the house, many renters find they are only able to afford these options. A lack of privacy may be one of the most significant disadvantages to renting an apartment. Apartments are usually situated fairly closely together and most apartments usually share a common wall with one of their neighbors. Renters may find their neighbors end up knowing a great deal more about them than they had intended simply because the living situation makes it difficult to keep one’s life private. Having to contend with noisy neighbors is another downfall to renting an apartment. As previously, mentioned apartments often share a common wall with a neighbor. As a result renters may run the risk of having noisy neighbors who listen to loud music or have boisterous friends visiting late at night. Word count 655

         
    Tips for finding a rental apartment

     

    Tips for Finding a Rental Apartment Finding a rental apartment is not always easy. Depending on occupancy rates in a particular area, it actually might be quite difficult to find available apartments that are also within your price range and meet all of your pre-determined requirements. However, even in areas where there is not a great deal of competition for the available apartments, renters may still have some difficulty finding the perfect apartment. This article will offer some tips for finding a rental apartment that suits all of your needs. Figure Out Your Needs The first step of any apartment search should begin with the potential renter carefully identifying all of their needs in an apartment. This list of needs will be different for every renter. While some renters are simply looking for a place to eat, bathe and sleep other renters may be looking for a living space which will serve a number of purposes including working, entertaining and participating in leisure activities or hobbies. When making this list of needs the renter should consider the options they cannot live without as well as the options they want to have but can live without. It is important to make this distinction because the renter will want to ensure the apartment they choose has all of the features they need and ideally a few features they want. However, an apartment which does not have all the required features may become an uncomfortable living situation very quickly. Do Your Research Once a renter has a good idea of the basic features he is looking for in an apartment, he should begin researching his options. Researching apartments can be done on the Internet, through the newspaper or through rental magazines. Renters may use one of these research methods exclusively or may combine a few of the methods to form a customized strategy for researching apartments. The research phase will give the renter an idea of the types of properties available for rent in the area. Comparison Shop The next step is the process of comparison shopping. This basically entails visiting several different rental properties and touring these facilities. During the tour the renter will get a good idea of available options as well as the costs associated with these options. This is helpful for two very important reasons. First it gives the renter a good idea of the types of apartments available within their budget. Second it gives the renter the ability to bargain regarding price. Renters who have proof of other apartment complexes offering more favorable rental terms, may be able to entice another complex to lower their prices slightly. Ask for Recommendations Renters can also help themselves in their search for an apartment by seeking recommendations from trusted friends and family members. These recommendations can be taken to be much more worthwhile than recommendations offered by the apartment complex from previously satisfied tenants. It is important to note the apartment complex is likely to only offer testimony from tenants who were happy with their rental agreement. For this reason, opinions offered by friends and family members are much more valuable because they do not have a vested interest in the rental property and simply offer their honest opinion. Friends or family members who share your interests and personality traits can be very helpful in offering recommendations for apartments because it is very likely you will be happy with the apartment they recommend. Consult the Better Business Bureau Finally, renters should consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB) before making a final decision and choosing an apartment complex. This can be very helpful especially if the renter finds a particular apartment complex has a number of unresolved complaints against them. While a lack of complaints is not necessarily an endorsement, it is a good sign if the complex has been in business for number of years without a slew of unresolved complaints. Word count 650

         
    Vacation rentals

     

    Vacation Rentals Many vacationers opt to rent a home in their vacation destination rather than staying in a hotel. For these vacationers, this is a worthwhile option because it gives the vacationer a more comfortable place to stay with features such as cooking facilities which are not typically offered in commercial hotels. Finding these vacation rentals can be significantly more difficult than simply making hotel reservations but many vacationers report this to be a worthwhile effort. However, some care should be taken when renting a vacation home to ensure the quality of the home meets the expectations of the vacationers. Finding Vacation Rentals Finding a vacation rental property can obviously be much more difficult than simply renting a hotel during the vacation. Of course some vacationers will be lucky and have a friend or family member who owns a home in a particular vacation destination and is willing to rent it out to others. Those who do not have this type of fortunate situation have other options for finding a vacation rental property. Many homeowners in popular vacation destinations rent out their home during the peak season. These homeowners may allow a realtor to handle the transactions. Contacting realtors in the area of the vacation destination and inquiring about available rental properties in the area is one way to start the search. The realtor will likely be able to assist you in finding a home for rent. There are also many popular websites where homes for rent are listed directly by the owner of the home. Searching the Internet can lead you to a reliable source of homes for rent. These homes are usually divided into categories by region and will likely provide you instant access to available dates. It will likely give useful information such as whether or not pets are allowed, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as the size of the home and the proximity to nearby attraction. The listing may also provide useful information regarding the furnishings of the home. Some rental properties may include items such as bedding and cookware while some may not. Ask Questions before Renting a Vacation Home Vacationers who wish to rent a vacation home as opposed to spending their vacation in a hotel should exercise a certain amount of caution in selecting a property to rent. Being cautious will not only enable the vacationer to ensure his rental property meets his expectations but will also help to avoid potentially dangerous situations. One way to avoid these potential problems is by asking a great deal of questions during the process. Renting a vacation home through a rental agency is ideal for safety purposes. In these situations the agency handles the entire rental giving the renter the security of knowing they are not walking into a potentially dangerous situation. However, even in this situation the renter should ask some important questions. These questions will be explained in the subsequent paragraphs. How old is the property? Potential renters should ask questions about the age of the property and whether or not appliances, plumbing and electricity have been updated. This is important because this type of information can mean the difference between a comfortable stay in the property and dealing with problems related to the age of the home. What is included in the rental? While most rentals include the basic necessities, there are some rental agreements which only include the use of the house and furniture. Renters may be required to bring along bedding, towels and even cookware. How often is the property rented and how is it maintained? These two questions are inter-related because properties which are rented often see significantly more wear and tear than properties which are only rented a couple of times per year. Properties which are rented often should employ a maid service to clean the property thoroughly between each rental and possibly during longer rental periods. What is the exact location of the property? Asking this question will enable the vacationer to determine whether or not the property is ideally situated for the purposes of the vacation. For example a vacationer on a ski trip would want to be situated close to the mountains while a vacationer more interested in a cultural vacation might be interested in a downtown location which will likely be closer to museums and other locations of interest. Word count 727

         
    What does the rent include

     

    What Does the Rent Include? There is no simple answer to the question of what is included in the rent. This is because the answer will likely vary from one apartment complex to the next. Some apartment complexes may include a variety of items within their rent while others may charge renters additional fees as needed and still others may require the renters to register directly with individual public utilities and handle these expenses on their own. Likewise some apartment complexes may include additional features with the price of the rent while others may charge additional fees for these features. A pool, exercise room, meeting room or theater are just a few examples which may be offered by an apartment complex. In most cases the use of these amenities are included in the price of the rent but there are exceptions where the renter is charged an additional fee for the privilege of using these amenities. Consider the Price of Utilities When considering the price or a rental property, the renter should first determine whether or not utilities are included in the cost of the rent. This is significant because depending on the size of the property and the climate of the area, heating and cooling costs can be rather expensive. In most cases, the renter is responsible for the cost of their own utilities and their apartment is individually monitored for usage and the renter is billed monthly by the utility company. However, in the case of an individual renting an apartment in a private home as opposed to an apartment complex, the homeowner may collect money for utility uses in another way. Depending on the agreement between the homeowner and the renter the monthly rent may be set at a rate which includes a contribution to the utility costs or the renter may be assessed a pre-determined percentage of each utility bill on a monthly basis. It is important to consider the price of utilities when they are not included in the rent because failure to do so can lead to unpleasant surprises in the future. For example a renter in a particularly cold climate may rent a spacious apartment for a great rate only to find out later that the cost of heating the apartment makes it difficult for the renter to afford to live in the apartment. Consider Amenities which are “Free” When renters are selecting an apartment, they should consider the amenities which are “free” as opposed to the amenities for which the renter is charged an additional fee. The word free is used in quotations in the heading of this section to indicate these amenities do not always come without a price. A renter may not pay a usage fee for some amenities but it is very likely the privilege of using these amenities is factored into the monthly rent. As an example consider two 800 square foot apartments in the same geographical area. Each apartment may have a similar layout and comparable square footage but the monthly rents associated with these two apartments might be quite different. In examining the amenities you might notice the higher prices apartment has access to a pool, an exercise room and a theater all for the use of residents while the lower priced apartment offers no such amenities. In this case the residents of the more expensive apartments are actually paying a higher monthly rent as a result of the amenities offered. In a case such as the example above, renters should weight their options carefully. If they can afford to pay the more expensive rent, they should carefully consider whether or not they wish to pay a higher fee for use of the amenities. A renter who doesn’t like to swim, belongs to a gym and does not have a great deal of free time to watch movies may decide they would be better off selecting the lower priced apartment without amenities. Word count 656

         
     
         
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