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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Choosing Your Next Rental Home the Right Way

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Choosing Your Next Rental Home the Right Way

I've had quite a few friends ask me about choosing a rental house and what to look for. Many have never owned a home, and only plan to stay a year or two at their next duty station, so being smart, they are renting instead of owning. There are a host of lists going over the basic things to watch out for in renting a home, just google "renting a home, what to watch out for". After reading the articles, here are some points you may not have come across.

How many times in the news have you heard the story of a family renting a home, happily living out their life, dutifully paying there rent and then.....BAM.....an eviction notice is posted on their door? Why? Because the landlord had trouble paying their mortgage? Why? For a variety of reasons:

  • They lost their job
  • Their monthly escrow amount was changed to account for higher property taxes/insurance (I know our escrow payment on one of our homes is over HALF the actual mortgage payment that goes to principal and interest!)
  • Other expenses have risen in their lives, and they can no longer keep up
How can you keep yourself from renting such a home?

  • Be suspicious if they are over-anxious for you to move in and also don't require a credit check on you
  • See if the house has some minor defects (or major) that have not been fixed and excuses are made
  • See the condition of the yard (usually the first to go South)
  • Ask them matter-of-factly where they work
  • Go to the county property appraiser's website and check what they paid for their home, look up their mortgage amount and get a feel for what they are paying per month; see how much the property taxes have risen in this county (compare last year to this year)
  • Go to the county's court website and do a search for the owner; if there are any filings against them, such as foreclosures, you will find them there (you can also find other cases to include criminal cases, which can give you a read on the character of the owner as well)
  • Do work with a realtor, as they also can help you find the better rental homes, not just homes to buy; many owners pay a finder's fee to realtors who bring qualified tenants
  • Have your realtor give you a list of all the foreclosures in the neighborhood; if there are more than a half dozen (depending on how large the neighborhood is), bypass that neighborhood; there are also numerous websites that list foreclosures filings (many don't list the address but will list at least the street)
  • Check online for the homeowner's association if they have one; find their bylaws and read them; you may not want to live in a neighborhood with excessive restrictions; also read their community meeting minutes (many are online) and see if there is any bickering or or other issues the community is struggling with
  • Find out if your state is one of the many that will not evict you, even if the owner is facing foreclosure and you continue to pay your rent (many states have recently passed such a law; many banks will also work with you and would rather you stay in the home rather than have it vacant and neglected); obviously this is the worst case scenario, but know that you have rights if you find yourself in this situation
Do you have any tips you'd like to share about renting a home or apartment?

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3 Comments:

Blogger kat said...

Hi,

Good one on Choosing Your Next Rental Home the Right Way. If you are looking for corporate housing rentals it doesn't matter if you are a corporate and searching for rental or properties or you own a property and looking to rent out http://tchnetwork.com/blog/ can help. Their service is amazing.

Thanks,
Kim

December 8, 2009 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Frugal Student said...

There is now a federal law that protects renters for their entire lease, they cannot be evicted even if the landlord is foreclosed on.

March 5, 2010 at 3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But who would want to live in such a home, knowing that things were going South in more ways than one? I guess if you are looking to buy, you may find a steal in such a home once it becomes bank-owned and no one buys it at auction.

March 5, 2010 at 3:42 PM  

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