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Tips for renters before they sign their new lease

9 Oct 13

If you've recently found the home or apartment of your dreams, congratulations! Finding the perfect fit can be a tough job, especially when you're renting. Before you rush off to sign the lease, consider the following real estate tips.

Read the tenancy agreement thoroughly

A residential tenancy agreement allows you to take possession of a property for a period of time and on certain conditions. It's legally binding, so it's really important that you understand all of the conditions set out.

Make sure to check when the beginning and expiration dates are, the rental price, when and how frequently you must pay rent, what the grounds for termination are, and whether there are penalties for moving out of the property before the lease expires.

Many professionals who have undergone real estate agent training will discuss this with you upfront, but it always pays to check you understand everything before signing a legally binding document.

Inspect the property

This goes beyond simply deciding on who will have which room. Test out taps and shower heads to make sure the temperature and pressure of the water is up to standard.

If the property comes with heating or air conditioning, ask to test these out to ensure they work. Flick on the lights and open windows to make sure everything is doing what it should - you don't want to move into a house with dodgy electrics and sticky windows.

Ask plenty of questions

If you're planning on staying in the property long-term, you'll want to make sure it's the right choice for your needs. Ask about the pet policy and what the scope is for additional tenants.

Even if you don't currently have any animals, children or other flatmates, you never know what will happen in the future.

Some property owners are relatively flexible with things like subletting and having guests stay, but you'll want to clarify this before the need arises.