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Getting ready to rent: vital pre-lease planning

Getting ready to rent: vital pre-lease planning

As many people found respite from the financial hurdles associated with homeownership in renting, the U.S. multifamily sector received a big push forward and recovery is almost complete. Rental occupancy saw a signficant increase earlier this year, reaching a national average of 94.3 percent, according to research data from Axiometrics Inc.

“With the extremely strong rent growth seen in 2010 and 2011 it was inevitable that it would begin to moderate, which has been the case now for about two years,” said Jay Denton, vice president of research for Axiometrics. “By historical standards, however, the apartment market is still strong, especially in some coastal areas and regions of robust job growth, like Texas. We pointed out recently that oversupply could become a concern in some markets. Affordability could also be an issue with so many high-priced units coming to the market. The next few quarters will be telling as deliveries continue to increase.”

With developers upping their game, prices for the new product are somewhere between $1,000-$1,600 per unit, depending on location, unit mix, amenities and other factors, Axiometrics further reports.

Investors may rejoice the current state of affairs yet renters feel things quite differently. With low inventories and rental rates on the rise, there’s a lot of competition out there. Renters usually look for the same things in their apartment choices: a safe environment, convenient location, Wi-Fi, green features, pet-friendliness, responsive staff and the list may go on. But what happens when you find the one, the apartment that best suits your needs and lifestyle? Are you sure you’ll be the one getting it and not your agent’s five o’clock appointment?

Often times, the secret of securing a good apartment lies in the approach. In order to get ahead of the competition, you need to play your cards right. When showing up for the walk through, have your credit report, renter’s history, and references at hand and be prepared to throw in a recommendation from your boss if things get serious. Additionally, in order to make proof of your “good tenant” status, offer to buy renters insurance. Many apartment communities have already included renters insurance as a prerequisite in the lease agreement to save themselves additional trouble and help protect the contents of the rental apartments, should disaster strike.

What’s even more important is that, in addition to standing proof of your responsible character, renter’s insurance will keep you shielded in the event of a mishap that could cause partial or total loss of your personal property including electronic equipment, clothing, furniture and jewelry. A standard insurance policy provides protection up to your selected policy limits against a variety of unexpected events such as fire, lightening, windstorm, explosion, smoke, glass breakage, theft, hail, and more. Earthquake coverage is optional and available only in California.

Plus, you’ll also benefit from the liability insurance clause which essentially provides coverage for accidental physical injury to another person as well as damage to property caused by the insured policy holder.

Receive a rental insurance quote from ResidentShield.