First Time Renting? Don't Miss This: The Ultimate Pre-Rental Checklist

If you are setting out to rent a home for the first time, here are some essentials to remember, so you don’t end up regretting entering a lease agreement.

This detailed guide should help first-time renters understand the ins and outs of renting a home, without having to find out the hard way. 

Pre-Viewing and Research:


Map out the routes you commonly frequent like work, school, relatives, and friend’s places. Will they be easy to commute to? Is there a public transportation facility available close by? And if yes, how frequent are they? 

Marking locations on a map

If you own a vehicle, you will need to check if the streets are good enough, and if there is ample parking space. If there is a parking space, check about how secure it is.

Check how close the grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and restaurants are. Don’t forget hospitals, clinics, parks, banks, ATMs, Gyms, Laundromats, theatres, and any other amenities.

If you have kids who go to school, you will also need to check up on the quality of schools other than checking their proximity to your potential rental home.

If you already have a pre-existing internet connection, check if that can be transferred here, if not look for alternate solutions.

How safe are the streets and the locality, especially in the night? Speak to the locals to get some information on that area, with this you will also know how welcoming they are. Enquire about the garbage disposal service and its frequency. 

Are the streets well-lit in the night? Are the homes in the neighborhood spaced well away from each other? This is especially important if a fire ever breaks out. 

How about the noise levels in the neighborhood? This is something that you can easily miss, and only notice after moving in.

Rental Listing Red Flags

Is the rent too low, unbelievably low compared to the rent trend in that area? If it sounds fishy, it could as well be fishy. There could be something wrong with that place, or there might be hidden charges or some other nasty surprise waiting for you there.

Is there any missing or ambiguous information related to utilities, parking, or other fee? It is better to clarify all of this before you move ahead with your plans.

Having to pay Security Deposit/Advance/Prepaid Rent is common when you are taking a place on rent. But if the landlord demands hefty amounts that is your sign to get out of there.

Security deposit

Was the landlord hard to get hold of or was their response slow? Well, that should tell you something. If you get into a rental agreement with them, you might not find them when you need them the most. The way they communicate with you should also be taken into consideration, this shows their professionalism. Dig up information about the landlord and try getting reviews from their past or current tenants to know the kind of person you will have to deal with.

Questions to Ask your Landlord

How would maintenance be handled? What will you be responsible for? Get clarification about who pays for what.

If they can’t be reached and there’s an emergency at hand, who are you supposed to reach out to?

What are the house and common area rules? Are you not allowed to do certain things in the house? What are the common area rules? Are pets allowed?


Get the landlord to walk you through the rental agreement, and know everything about termination and extension of that agreement. Get details about all the kinds of fees you will have to pay, and if necessary get it added to the agreement. Ask about the mode of payment, and the payment cycles too.

Viewing and Inspection

Carefully scrutinize the entire house, if you miss out on anything you will be the one to suffer because of it. Check every room- check the walls, flooring, ceiling, doors, windows, light fixtures, electric outlets, appliances (if any), wardrobes, drawers, shelves, ventilation, sinks, faucets, and other plumbing fixtures.

inspecting a home with a magifying glass

Try out every switch, open up every drawer, and explore every single nook and cranny of that house. If you find any issues, discuss them with the landowner and see what needs to be done.

Document all of your findings in the form of photographs, and keep them in case you need them when leaving the house.

Negotiation and Rental Agreement

Understand thoroughly the rental trends and costs in that area, this will help you get a good deal. Before signing the agreement, make sure you thoroughly read and understand it, in case of any ambiguity, raise a concern regarding it with the landowner. Make sure the agreement covers everything and does not leave anything to chance or to the whimsies of the landlord.

If you managed to identify any potential problems during your inspection of the property, you can use that to negotiate the price of the rent.

Moving In

Essentials and Utilities

Before you move in, make sure that all the essentials and utilities are fully functional. You will need to plan ahead to have all of them available when you move in. For utilities like gas, you will need to prepare a proof of address and get the new address registered with the concerned authorities. Remember to direct all your mail to this new address.

Essential utilities in a home

Upgrades and Personalization

Tailor your new space to suit your needs, at the same time making sure you don’t violate any of the rules set by the landlord. Plan the layout before you move in, this will make your move much more easier.

If you feel like making any upgrades to your new home, before moving in is the best time. Check how secure your home is, and if necessary, bolster it.

The moving process is just as important, hire reliable packers and movers to make moving much more safer and hassle-free.

If you keep these things in mind, there’s less of a chance of you regretting signing a rental agreement. Be proactive, and inquisitive when looking at a place to rent, this will help you avoid troublesome places.