Renting and Leasing
Purchasing a house is a big decision to make. For those not ready to make that decision—or are on a tight schedule or temporary relocation—renting or leasing is a better decision. Luckily, there are several types of properties to choose from in the Los Angeles area. From condos and townhouses to apartments and single-family homes, Los Angeles has a rental property for everyone.

GETTING ORGANIZED
Now that you’ve determined that renting is your best option at this time, it’s time to get organized. Are you prepared to submit a rental application? Review this list to help you prepare.

What’s Your Budget?
Establish a rental rate you can afford. Don’t forget that you may need to pay for utilities and other items not included in your rent. Many properties will not approve you as a resident if you’ll have to spend more than a third of your gross income on the rent.

How Is Your Credit?
Check out your credit record with a report from a consumer reporting agency and be sure to clear up any problems or mistakes on your record before you fill out a rental application.

Prepare Paperwork
As you apply to various complexes or realty firms, have the following information readily available so the application process can go smoothly:
  • Current and former addresses
  • Current and past employment with dates and contact phone numbers
  • Credit references
  • Copy of your credit report (if available)
  • Bank information
  • Bring your checkbook as you may be required to pay a security deposit
  • If you have pets, expect to pay a pet deposit

STAYING FOCUSED
Before you start looking and comparing properties, determine your needs. Do you need a place with lots of space, good closets or proximity to work or school, shopping or public transportation? Are you looking for a neighborhood with a suburban feel or prefer being closer to higher density, urban areas?

Then, of course, determine how much space you need and whether you’ll need a storage space for extra furniture. Are you interested in a specific school district for your children? Is there a washer dryer in the rental? How is the traffic leaving your neighborhood in the morning and at night?

EVALUATING YOUR NEEDS
It now may be clear that when choosing an apartment you will have many options. Whether you are hunting for your rental online or in person, it will be helpful to navigate through the process by first evaluation your needs. With the help of www.apartmentreview.net, the following factors have been identified as features to keep in mind. If you are working with a real estate professional to find your apartment, creating a list will be a tool they can use while searching on your behalf. Explain what you are flexible about and what is essential.

Pets: If you are relocating with your pet, inquiring about pet policies is the first thing to do. There is no sense in finding an apartment that fits you perfectly only to learn your pet is not welcome. Many rentals will have strict policies when it comes to pets, and violating them could forfeit your security deposit and leave you looking for a new a place to live. Some might not allow them at all while others might just require an additional security deposit or a slight increase in rent. In some cases, the deposit can be pretty high and may not be refundable. Ask plenty of questions if you’re unsure. Keep in mind that even when pets are allowed, a big dog that growls at children or barks all night long will probably be asked to leave.

Living Space: Generally it is better to have too much space than too little because if you go too small, you will either be living with clutter or spending extra money to put some of your belongings in a storage facility. For minimal storage, many apartments will at least have a small storage closet usually accessed from the porch or balcony. Some offer additional on-site storage space for an extra fee. If your intention is to sign a short-term lease while finding a more permanent residence, make sure there is a storage facility nearby.

Kitchen/Bedrooms/Bathrooms: Kitchens can be the core of a home and, if utilized, require adequate counter space, cabinets and a pantry to store food. If cooking will be minimal, find out if there are restaurants located conveniently nearby or search for a high-rise building with room service. When deciding on the number of bedrooms you require, do not forget to factor in the size of the rooms, the possibility of out-of-town guests and converting a bedroom to an office. Ceiling fans are especially useful and help keep air circulating even when air conditioning is on. This may not be important to some, but others want a ceiling fan in every room. Not every bathroom was created equal. Do you need a tub in every one, or can you get by with shower stalls? Don’t forget to turn on the shower to check water pressure.

Appliances: Most higher-end rentals come standard with a refrigerator, washer and dryer, dish washer, oven and stove and microwave. Decide whether you need to sell any appliances you currently own before you move. If you must purchase appliances not supplied by the rental property, factor the cost into your monthly rent over the course of your lease to determine the true value of the unit.

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