If you have pets or kids, then you know the damage they can do to a residence over time. From puppy house training mistakes to permanent marker self-portraits on the wall, both kids and pets have a significant impact on a rental. Your real estate agent can help you find properties that are well suited for your family, no matter how many pets or kids you have. Keep the following tips in mind as you do your property search – and before you sign a lease:
Security deposit vs. pet fee: While many landlords do allow pets, there is often an extra deposit or fee involved. An extra security deposit is understandable – no matter how well-mannered your pets are, they can cause extra wear and tear on the home. If your pets do no or limited damage, you should get that deposit back. A pet fee on the other hand is simply a payment to the landlord, almost like a pet tax and will not be refunded. Make sure you know whether the money you’re handing over is a deposit or a fee.
Avoid homes that are very vulnerable to damage: Pristine white carpets and delicate, chewable spindles on the staircase, and plain white walls that are just begging for a Crayola makeover – these are all signs of potential problems. While the rental home you are viewing may be beautiful, make sure it is not too easy to damage, particularly if you have toddlers or young pups. You’ll save both money and hassle in the long run by choosing a more durable home.
Yards and containment for pets: If you have a dog, make sure the property has either a fenced in yard or a good place to walk your pup. Indoor cats will also need a home with screens of some type to prevent them from slipping out the windows – unless you plan on leaving the windows closed year round.
Landlord’s attitude towards pets (and kids): How does the landlord feel about pets and kids? If you ask about pets, and the landlord whips out an album of her own critters you can assume she understands that pets can cause some additional wear. If the landlord assumes a look of horror when you climb out of the car with your four year old twins, they may not be the best match for your family. A landlord that enjoys children and animals will usually be easier to work with than one who abhors them.
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