In many cities across the country, leasing a home is an affordable way for individuals and families to lives in great houses in attractive neighborhoods.  Today, many people are choosing to rent a home because they want more space, more freedom and a place to entertain guests. Some residents have new or young families and are attracted to good school districts. Other are in transition or saving for home ownership in the future. Regardless of the reason, if you’re thinking about a leasing a home rental for the first time, it is important to do some research. This way, you can be sure to lease the house that’s right for you.

Today, home rentals are managed through individual homeowners, small property management companies or larger single-family rental companies.  At Invitation Homes, we have homes in 16 metro-areas around the country. We also offer high-quality services throughout the entire rental process, such as finding a house in preferred neighborhoods, homes with new amenities and yards for kids and pets and service providers for maintenance needs. Further, our homes meet a 250-point checklist prior to move-in.

Once you’ve decided what type of home rental experience fits your lifestyle, ask yourself these five questions before you sign the lease:

1. What can I afford?

Determine your monthly budget and look for options that meet it.  Factor in a security deposit and paying up-front for the first month rent.  Find out if any other expenses are included in the rent such as utilities, and if there will be increases in the monthly rent during the terms of your lease.

2. What’s most important to me in where I live?

Make a list of criteria that is important to you and your family and rank items based on priority. This list may include living in a good school district, within proximity to work or near public transportation. Or you may look for an outdoor space or yard, a number of bedrooms, pets allowance or updated kitchens, bathrooms and amenities.

3. What are the other fees or rules I should be aware of?

Inquire about all other fees in the lease including cable, HOA application, pet deposit, cost of utilities and other related home costs.

4. What are the terms for breaking a lease?

Sometimes circumstances dictate that you need to end your lease early, so it will be important to know what the fees and obligations are.

5. What is the process for requesting maintenance issues? Emergency repairs?

Depending on the type of home rental you choose (individually-owned or through a larger home rental company), the process for dealing with maintenance issues will be different. Therefore, it is important that you understand the process and feel comfortable with the landlord’s policies and resources.

At some point, every home has an emergency repair such as a frozen pipe or a broken hot water heater. While the landlord will typically pay for it, you may be unable to reach the landlord during off-hours. Or the preferred service vendor may not be available when you need them. Make sure you understand who is financially responsible for maintenance issues or repairs and the process for service providers.  At Invitation Homes, a dedicated customer service team handles both regular preventive service visits and emergency maintenance requests, ensuring that licensed contractors are ready to respond quickly.  As part of our ProCare Proactive Maintenance Program, residents receive maintenance visits from a licensed technician to ensure your home is comfortable and running smoothly.

While this list doesn’t cover all the information of leasing a home, it should provide a good start.  At Invitation Homes, we want to create a memorable experience for the families who call our houses homes. Educated residents are happy residents!

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