Living in the same house for five years, Costana Hornbaker realized the rental market was loosening, and she might want to move.
A renter since high school, she says Boise has a good rental market, but the housing bust tightened things up.
As part of her research, she started looking at considerations and weighing her options: Two versus single level, proximity to shops, electric versus gas heating, driving distances and schools.
"It's not like I've moved around a lot," she says. "We lived in one house for almost 10 years."
Whether you are looking for a new place to live, are a student, or your job has transplanted you, chances are you are searching through classified ads or using the services of a real estate professional.
BBB suggest spending time thinking about your needs and preferred location before you make any decisions.
"I've called the utility companies, Idaho Power and Intermountain Gas to see what the utilities are," she says. "It's important when you go into a new home that you can estimate a little what your bills will be."
She says only Idaho Power refused to give utility usage information on the rental property.
Good advice. BBB also reminds you to:
Check the specifics on maintenance and repair concerns, who handles them and on what timeframe.
Look at the conditions for your lease. When can rent or other fees be increased?
Spell out repairs on appliances, fixtures and furnishings that come with the apartment. For example, light bulb replacement?
Know the number of persons allowed in the apartment. Does the figure allow for any household growth? Are sizes set by local ordinances?
Get information sublet options for your unit if you want to move before the lease is up or if you plan on being away for a lengthy period.
Verify subletting fees in the event you default on the lease. This amount is often 85 percent of your monthly rental rate. However, many companies charge additional fees such as remaining rent left on the lease term, making total charges amount to several thousand dollars in some cases. This can affect your ability to rent another apartment or buy a home.
Can you have pets and the specifics - deposits and fees, refunds.
Find out the conditions of your security deposit. Security deposits are usually required and offset the landlord's cost of repairing any property damage. Make sure you understand coverage and conditions for a refund.
Ensure that any oral promises made by the leasing agent are stipulated in the contract as well.
Find out if you are limited to using certain service providers for services such as cable or Internet. A one-year lease term can feel like 10 if you're forced to use a service provider you are not happy with. Check utility providers and responsibility to pay for services.
While not always possible, find out if you can view the actual apartment you plan to rent before applying.
Robb Hicken: 947-2115