Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Rent
by Ice Artificio
Jan 11, 2018
The end of the year is almost always the best time to start a lease. The long vacations and 13th month payments make it an optimal time to find a new place. This makes December a good time to start viewing. Extra money and extra time - what could go wrong right?
Signing your first lease is undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions you will make in your adult life. In today’s generation, more often than not, it is financially sound to stay at your parents’ place until your income is stable enough to sustain your own living space.
Living on my own taught me a lot from the the obvious budgeting and financial discipline to the little things such as changing light bulbs, when to get airconditioners cleaned, keeping an eye out for suspicious bystanders, and identifying mold growth. Granted, I didn’t need to be an expert at these things, but I needed to learn enough to know when to call an expert.
There are a number of things you can do to make sure you are ready for your first rented space. Here are a few practical questions you should ask yourself to gauge your readiness before you start your viewing:
Why are You Doing This?
Whether it is to live closer to work or school, start living independently, get your own free space, keep a pet or live with someone special, you need to articulate your main reasons for moving out or choosing to rent. I feel that “living on your own” has been romanticized a lot. When in fact it is mostly about calling your shots and living with the consequences. You’ll have more bills, cleaning, and having to deal with neighbors. Have a clear reason of why you need to rent, this will help you narrow down and decide which units will work for you.
Can You Afford It?
Do the long term calculations to include your meals, bills, outstanding debts, and other expenses like planned vacations. Can your salary afford it? If not, how much are you willing to compromise in terms of location, size, and luxuries? Take the time to map out your finances and set a price point that you can afford that still allows you to put some of your income away in case of emergencies.
Are You Willing to Get Roommates?
If the average rent in your area of choice does not match your current income, sharing rented space is a good second option. Of course, you will need to screen and ask potential roommates and make sure they are reliable and easy to live with.
How Will You Feed Yourself?
Learning how to cook will definitely help you save on expenses, but if you are not good in the kitchen or your condo does not allow cooking, you need to be creative in meal planning. You need to carefully assess how you will feed yourself properly for two important reasons: to stay healthy and to not go bankrupt. Review how you plan your meals, how much they usually cost, and if you can afford those same meals after rent and utilities. If not, what are your other options?
How Much Housework Do You Know?
I feel that this is an area I have overly underestimated just because for the longest time, my parents did it for me. Luckily, the internet is laden with advice and tips about housework that isn’t usually taught in school. Some of the most important ones include knowing how to identify mold, termites, or bed bugs, how to not overload electricity loads, and other warning signs that says you need to contact your building admin, landlord, or broker.
How Familiar are You with Renting Laws?
Knowing the existing laws in place allows you to protect yourself. Read up on what your rights are as a tenant and the extent of your would-be landlord’s rights. A good place to start will be the Republic Act 9653 or The Rent Control Act of 2009 that has been extended until December 31, 2017. It covers important laws such as grounds for eviction, increasing rent, and landlord’s responsibilities when it comes to repairs.
The contract you will sign for your lease is legal and binding. This means for the duration of your stay, you will be held accountable with all the terms and conditions in that signed document. It is therefore important to ask yourself the hard questions so that you can make informed decisions to prevent or minimize any losses or hassles on your end.
Got any tips/hacks for first time renters? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Happy renting! :)