When you find the perfect home during your PCS, your first instinct may be to sign the lease as quickly as possible. But, before you do, ask these five questions.
Finding the right place to live is an important component of feeling at home during your next assignment. But it is key to not let your hurry to get settled you result in issues that will need to be dealt with for the rest of your lease.
What exactly does the lease say?
I know, the legalese can be tough to read through. It’s worth your time to read every word of the lease you are preparing to sign and make sure that you understand each section. If there is anything in the lease that doesn’t reflect something you have verbally arranged with your landlord/property manager, do not sign until you have the change in writing. If there is any part you don’t understand or that isn’t clear, get clarification before signing.
How do I feel at night?
If you visited your new home in person, it was likely done during the day. Before you sign your lease, consider checking out the neighborhood after dark – especially on a weekend night. Is it loud? Does a nearby hospital or police station mean you’ll be hearing sirens at night? Are there street lights? There will be times that you will be coming and going in the dark, so make sure you’re comfortable with the neighborhood at those times.
What needs to be in writing?
The short version? Everything! If you discuss any arrangements with your landlord, they need to be in writing so that expectations are clear for everyone.
What do others after say about your landlord/property manager?
Take a little time to do a quick Google search on the person or agency you will renting from. Just remember to take any online postings with a grain of salt – people don’t need proof to post negative reviews online. But, it does give you an indication of areas that you may want to be sure to clarify regarding things like expenses or maintenance requests.
Who will handle emergencies?
Don’t sign the dotted line for you lease without establishing a firm policy on how to handle emergencies. Is there a local contact who will handling spending decisions? Are you authorized to initiate any repairs on your own? What exactly are you responsible for and what will your landlord handle? Again, this is one area that needs to be crystal clear on before you sign to avoid unwelcome (and potentially expensive) surprises during your stay!
We want to know:
What is your deal breaker when looking at a potential home?
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