How To Rent A House and Other DIY Solutions

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Here's How To Rent A House in five easy steps.  

How To Rent A House

1.  Calculate how much you can afford to pay.  

When calculating housing affordability, the basic rule of thumb is this: Your monthly rent should be no greater than one third of your monthly income.  

2.  Select an area that is affordable and convenient.

Once you've determined your affordability factor, decide where you would like to live.  If you commute to work, consider travel costs (gas or public transportation, for instance).  Houses in rural areas are cheaper by the square foot than urban homes, but the tenant often pays the difference in transportation expenses.

3.  Research homes for rent in your chosen area.


Select your state and region from the file menu.  

Under the category labeled "Housing," select "Apts/Housing."

First, scan the unfiltered list to get an idea of what's generally available.

Then, filter your results using the window on the left side of the page.  Here's where you can set price ranges, desired square footage, pet friendliness, and more.  

4.  Respond to all listings that interest you.  

When you see a listing that looks interesting to you, click on it.  Read the ad, study the photos, and look at the map, which is usually provided on the upper right side of the page.

If the unit appeals to you, contact the owner using whatever instructions are provided in the text, or just click the REPLY button on the upper left.

Call or email the contact person with a brief message, expressing your interest in knowing How To Rent A House they own.  Politely request further details.  DON'T FORGET to include your name, phone number, and/or email address.  

5.  Follow up on responses as needed.  

If the person who posted the listing calls or emails you, politely arrange to see the house.  Even if you don't care what the house looks like, the owner will want to meet all prospective tenants.

If you don't hear back from anyone within three days, it's okay to send one polite follow up message.  If you still don't hear back from anyone, it simply means they rented the house to someone else.  

No worries.  Just revisit craigslist each day and keep trying.  New home rental listings are being added all the time.  

Prepare for your visit.  Be ready to fill out an application.  

Bring a copy of your recent bank statement and a pen.  If possible, also bring a copy of your credit report, available free online.  

If your credit is bad or nonexistent, find a landlord or homeowner who doesn't care so much about credit.  Many landlords will overlook credit problems if (for instance) you have plenty of money in your bank account, or if you have a steady job, or if you can bring profusely flattering references from other landlords.  

Now you know How To Rent A House.  Repeat the above steps until you find the right place to suit your lifestyle.  

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