While of course we’d love it if everyone could buy his or her home instead of renting it, we understand that buying may not be ideal for you at this time. Especially because according to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh still ranks high as an affordable rental market. Even though Pittsburgh is currently considered a buyers market and the fact that rents are predicted in to skyrocket according to our previous blog about real estate predictions for 2016, Pittsburgh was listed in the top 5 most affordable rental markets according to a survey done by RealtyTrac. Pittsburgh scored this ranking along with Atlanta, Huntsville, Ala., Peoria, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa.
Since we know Pittsburgh is an affordable renter’s market we understand that it might be a better option for you by giving some blogs that tailor to renters as well. Along with this current blog, you might want to consider stopping by the following apartment/renting tips if you’re not ready to buy just yet:
- How To: Avoid Committing to The Wrong Apartment or Rental
- How To: Decorate for the Holidays in a Small Home Or Apartment
- Warning Sings of Bad Tenants
- Tips For Becoming A Landlord
- Remember These 5 Overlooked Items For Your First Apartment or Rental
- How To: Search For Your First Apartment or Rental as A College Student
However if you are choosing to rent over buy, you might want to consider the following common problems that renters face and weigh all your options. Apart from the limited decorating options, possible small spaces, and outdated appliances, here are a few more common problems renters face that may give you more headaches than you’d like:
- Immediate Access – Depending on if you are renting an apartment or home, who has immediate access to your rental will vary. If you are renting a home it’s likely that just the landlord has a spare key made in case of emergencies while you are not there. If you are renting in an apartment complex however, there is likely a master key or two where multiple people could gain access to your apartment. While laws are different according to the state you live in, you could receive either a two-day notice that your landlord needs access to your apartment or rental home or as little as 24-hours. In most cases your landlords will only need immediate access if there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed like a gas leak for example. But some cases landlords may stop by to make sure you are adhering to their rules.
- Repairs/Maintenance – This is something you should definitely ask about before signing any leases. Most apartment complexes have a maintenance staff on hand, but not all complexes have 24-hour access to a maintenance staff. Though this also varies by state, our source says that heating and plumbing problems (heat and water without leaks, etc. for example) are something that landlords are legally bound to uphold. Of course there are other issues that may require you to finance on your own. Some other maintenance problems that may occur that you may have to deal with on your own include:
- Replacing light bulbs – Most complexes will replace these if its their lighting fixture (for example a ceiling light)
- Clogged toilets *make sure you have a plunger on hand!
- Bug/pest problems – Though most complexes will also have an exterminator on hand, some may require you to hire your own.
- Security Deposits – This is probably the most common problem that renters face – getting their security deposit back. While the laws regarding this, like most of these other problems, vary by state most landlords cannot keep security deposits unless there is a valid cause. Most of the time landlords are required to list any deficiencies that may result in a loss of their security deposit and give you enough time to remedy these problems. Though some complexes or rentals might already do this, it might be a good idea to create a checklist of things that you noticed when you first signed the lease (for example a scratch on a wall in a certain place or a missing blind on the window) this way you won’t be held responsible for it when you move out.
- Mail Confusion – Again, this is something you’ll want to ask about before signing a lease. What is the mail policy in the complex or rental? If you’re renting a home there might not be as much concern because you’ll likely have a big enough mailbox or porch for packages and large envelopes. However, if you’re in an apartment complex or condo you may only have a small mailbox. If this is the case, large packages and envelopes will not fit in it and maybe left outside your apartment or condo’s door. While some prospective renters may be okay with this other may not because it could indicate when you are not home to receive the package. If there’s a package waiting outside your door, that could be a green light for thieves and criminals that your home is easy access for them. Also, there could be confusion with old renters’ mail still coming to your mailbox, or confusion among the current apartments.
- Neighbor Issues – Finally, this is an issue that could arise whether you are renting or buying a home – issues with your neighbors. While if you are renting or buying a home you have a bit more privacy and might not have to deal with bad neighbors as much, they still could become an issue. In most cases landlord-tenant disputes are regulated by law, but respect and courtesy from all parties involved can prevent disputes from happening in the first place. As a neighbor you should keep your rental or apartment as clean as possible, and remember to not be a “nosey neighbor.” Of course if there are issues like loud music or constant partying, this is something that could be brought up to your landlord.
Again, while we hope that you consider buying instead of renting, we realize that every circumstance is different and buying a home may not be an option for you right now. If you choose to rent we hope you’ll remember this blog, as well as the blogs above, and stop by some great rental opportunities that we have available on our website!
Follow and Like The Jim Dolanch Team!
The Jim Dolanch Team is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Yelp. Be sure to follow us to get more information about Pittsburgh area events, and information about the Pittsburgh Real Estate Market! Or visit my website and let my team and I assist you in finding your next Pittsburgh home!
Until Next Time,