Making the decision to move out and rent your own property can seem daunting. After taking that first step and deciding to move, there are a number of important questions to ask yourself as you enter the rental process.

Pakistan’s best real estate website, looks at what to consider both before choosing a property to rent and during the rental period.

Can you afford it?

Before you begin the process of finding the right rental property for you, do the math. Draw up a budget, based on your monthly income, to figure out how much you can afford to pay for the rent, initial deposit, bills, and insurance. If you are renting from a letting agent, be sure to review additional agency fees. Consider whether your new property will be furnished or unfurnished, and the amount you will need to spend on basic furnishings to make your new home livable. Don’t forget to leave some wiggle room for emergency spending, and social activities throughout the month.

Do you know your rights?

Before signing a contract, make sure you know your rights. Every country is different when it comes to rental property law, and if you do not read your new contract thoroughly, you may be caught out at a later date. Check that your contract includes rental costs, taxes, and property do’s and don’t’s, including having pets or smoking indoors. And do not ignore the small print; if there is something you are unsure of, ask! Discuss any points of concern with your future landlord, and make sure that any points of contention are agreed in writing, to save hpw from later disputes. If you are not happy with the contract, do not be afraid to speak up.

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Be smart

The excitement of moving into your first, very own property can often cloud a first-time renter’s judgement. Make sure that before you move in, you inspect your new property. Create a list of all necessary repairs, or any concerns, and notify the landlord – in writing – immediately. Keep records of all correspondence to avoid any later issues. On arrival, ensure that all problems have been solved, and the inventory is accurate. Take photos of the space both when moving in and leaving the property, to ensure you have proof of any problems.

Cover your back

When renting, it is vital to protect your belongings from break-ins, damages and accidents. Consider all of the items, both big and small, in your property, and add up how much contents insurance you need to protect everything. This is a cost that must be considered in the initial budgeting phase of the rental process – avoid being surprised by additional costs at a later date, and do your research before moving.

Be prepared

Research all of the documents that a landlord is likely to need, such as: verification of employment, income and identity. Gather all of these together in advance; by presenting these in an organized, clear style, you will immediately impress your potential landlord. By creating a checklist with all of the necessary documentation, you can easily keep track of everything you need to rent your own property.