Summer is one of the busiest times of the year for making a move — the weather’s nice, school’s out for the kids, and leases are usually ending. If you’re preparing to make a move to a new rental in the coming months, you’re definitely not alone. Do you have your checklist ready to go? If not, don’t worry, we have one right here.
1) Make sure you have a new place.
This seems like a given, but if you haven’t secured your new rental yet, now’s the time to do it! You want to start looking and applying at least a few weeks and possibly even a few months before your current lease is up. It’s never a good thing to be scrambling for a place to sleep days before your lease ends. Start doing your research early and go to open houses when you can.
2) Start saving for fees and down payments.
Most rentals will require application fees, screening fees, security deposits, and even rental payments up front. Make sure you plan and budget for these costs! You should save up at least one month’s rent, plus extra for fees and deposits. If you have pets, take those fees into account as well. Having the cash on hand can make all the difference between scoring your dream rental or being passed over.
3) Give your current landlord plenty of notice.
Check your lease agreement. Does it state how much lead time your landlord requires if you’re planning on renewing or moving when the lease is done? Make sure you do as it says. If there’s no requirement listed, ask your property manager or landlord when you need to give notice. Most states require at least 20 days written notice if you’re breaking the lease, while some require more. It’s considerate to give 30 days notice or more.
4) Make sure your rental looks as good as the day you moved in.
Time to get cleaning! Break your chores into reasonable chunks and do them over a series of days or weeks, rather than scrambling to give everything a deep clean two days before you have to leave. Check your lease agreement to see if you’re required to make any minor cosmetic touch-ups, like painting scratches or filling nail holes. If you want to make sure you get your full security deposit back, be meticulous in getting your rental back to move-in-ready shape. If you need help, ask your property manager if they have a preferred cleaning service.
5) Go over everything one, two, three times.
Check the apartment, home, yard, garage, and any other property you used carefully to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind, including damage. Double check all your keys so that nothing’s missing and put them in an envelope together, including mail and amenity keys. Don’t forget crawl spaces if you store things there! Did you notice any maintenance issues? Make a note of it.
6) Leave on good terms and ask if you can use their name as a reference.
If you’re planning on applying to any other new rentals in the future, be sure to leave your current situation on the best possible terms with your landlord and ask them if it’s okay to use their name on future references. This is a courtesy — you can always use past rentals as references, but it’s nice to ask. The owner may want to show the property to potential tenants while you’re still living there, so keep everything tidy and be considerate.
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