Are you getting ready to rent a house for the very first time?


Renting a home is a big step in your personal growth and future independence, and a very exciting time. However, it can also be incredibly overwhelming! There is a lot to consider as you get ready to rent a house for the first time. How can you be sure that you have everything properly covered?

The following checklist for renting a house will run you through the steps of what you will want to do as you are preparing to move into your home. Let’s get into it!

Step 1: Organize Your Finances

Before finding a house to rent, you’ll want to make sure that you know how to budget for it. Most experts recommend not renting anything that will cost more than 30% of your monthly income, but this is not always possible. Figure out what you can afford to pay monthly in rent before you sign any leases.

There are a lot of costs to prepare for as you are readying for your move:

  • Security deposit
  • First month’s rent
  • Renter’s insurance
  • Pet deposit, if applicable
  • Utility payments, if applicable
  • Moving costs, if applicable
  • Condo or parking fees, if applicable

Some of these costs are more obvious than others. Whatever your budget, you need to be sure that you will be able to cover all of these costs. Surprise costs can cause serious problems. If you aren’t able to make utility payments on a rental, you may want to look for something less expensive.

Ensuring that your finances allow for your rental plan is always your first step when preparing to move into a rental house for the first time.

Step 2: Put Everyone On The Lease

Are you planning to move in with housemates for your first home lease? If so, you want to make sure that everyone is included in the lease terms.

Even if your landlord allows for sub-letting and sub-tenants, any roommates that you know will be moving in from day one should be included in the lease. This protects everyone involved from the actions of others. Additionally, it ensures that everyone is responsible for following all the rules and terms in the lease.

Anyone that does not want to be included on the lease in some manner probably isn’t a great choice for a roommate. Everyone involved needs to have the same level of commitment to ensure that no one will be trapped in a bad situation later.

Step 3: Clarify All Lease Terms

Another critical step is to make sure that you clarify all the terms of the lease before you sign it. Once you sign, you will be legally obligated to follow the terms that you have agreed to.

Make sure that you understand those terms in detail before you agree to them! If anything seems unfair, confusing, or not what you would expect in a rental situation, don’t be afraid to ask your landlord for clarification. 

Also, don’t  worry about your landlord being upset that you want to go through the lease in detail! Good landlords will appreciate that you are interested in the lease terms and you want to understand them. Your  interest shows that you will try your best to be a good tenant, and that will definitely be appreciated.

Step 4: Talk About Maintenance

Do you know who is responsible for the maintenance of the yard at the house? Do you know how to put in a service call request or when to do so? Do you know if you are allowed to decorate, paint, or make changes to the property? 

While all of these things should be outlined in detail in the lease, there’s no harm in talking to your landlord about specifics. They are the most knowledgeable person when it comes to the property, so they can give you a good idea of what type of maintenance is expected and how difficult it is, and what costs (if any) you can expect to pay.

Step 5: Plan For A Smooth Move In Day

Once the paperwork is signed and you are ready to move in, make sure that you have the particulars sorted out before moving day. Not only will you need to move in your boxes, but you will also need to check on things like utilities. Coordinating the movers, picking up your keys, and getting your necessities ready to go can be tricky!

Some people choose to start the process very early in the day to make sure they have a place to sleep at night. Additionally, it is key to make sure to pack things in such a way that you can quickly access your daily necessities before you unpack everything. Nobody wants to be digging for a toothbrush at midnight after a long day of moving!

The Final Moving Checklist

Today’s article covered some essential details that first-time renters often forget about when getting ready to move in. Let’s wrap things up with a checklist that includes many things you may want to consider during this process. 

  • Review lease in detail with the landlord
  • Pay any necessary deposits
  • Ask the landlord about all utilities such gas and electric, parking, and other possible add-ons 
  • Schedule your movers
  • Schedule utility assistance as needed
  • Set up your forwarding and mailing address
  • Pack so you can quickly access necessities
  • Do a pre-move-in walkthrough with the landlord
  • Take photos of meters and property for proof of its condition before moving in
  • Pick up the keys from the landlord
  • Meet your neighbors
  • Pay your rent on time

There are many things to think about when moving into a new property; use this list and other helpful tools to keep yourself organized during the process.