Whether you want to move from your parent’s home or to another house, the process of house hunting is not easy. Finding property that will fit your budget and your lifestyle takes time and effort.

Most times, you want to live in a good neighbourhood but don’t have enough money. So, you end up settling for less, based on what you can afford.

BuyRentKenya shares a list that will help you know what to look out for before you sign the lease agreement. There is no harm in carrying the list with you just to make sure you don’t miss anything when house hunting.

Can You Afford the Rent?

Before you even start looking for a house, you need to know how much monthly rent you can afford. This looks like an obvious point but it’s important to live within your means to avoid getting into debt. We all have different priorities and goals in life. Don’t try and stretch yourself to live in a neighborhood just because your friends live there. The rule of thumb is to budget 30% of your gross income on rent.

Do some research to know the market prices when you want to rent a house or apartment. If you are not sure, talk to your friends to get an idea of what to expect. Also, if the price is too low, think twice before you are conned.

How Safe is the Building?

One of the top priorities most people should consider but overlook when house hunting is safety. This is in terms of the building itself and the neighbourhood you want to move in to. Look at the fittings and the building’s structure to make sure it’s strong and habitable.

Conduct a thorough check of the doors and windows to ensure they all lock properly. Can anyone else access the building apart from the people living in it?

Is the House in Good Quality?

Sometimes, the pictures of houses posted online are nothing from what is on the ground. Before you sign the lease, make sure you visit the place yourself to see the condition of the house. If there are minor fixes you can make to a house such as painting or fixing a light bulb then you can do the changes later when you move in. But if you find a bigger problem such as a drainage problem, you might need the landlord to intervene. Make sure the caretaker fixes these issues before you agree to sign the lease.

Who Pays Utilities?

Utilities seem like an obvious thing to have in any part of a neighbourhood. Some places will ration water during certain days of the week while others have a constant supply. When house hunting, ask your neighbours if they have such problems. Run the taps to confirm the water pressure.

Minus the rent, there are monthly charges on utilities such as water, garbage collection, electricity you will pay. In some areas, the landlord includes the utility bills in the rent while in others, you have to foot them on your own. If you are not sure of this, ask the landlord before you sign the contract.

What is the Landlord’s Character?

When it’s your first time to rent, thinking about the landlord’s character is something many people don’t consider. But you might wonder why you need to keep the landlord or caretaker in mind.

This person can either make you love your new home or make you move out immediately.

Landlords and caretakers need to have boundaries and professionalism when dealing with the tenants. They can’t enter your house whenever they feel like.

They shouldn’t add rent out of the blue without communicating to the tenants in advance. Find out who is in charge of any maintenances of the building and if you are allowed to make any changes to the property.

People have different experiences with their landlords. Try and speak to an existing tenant before you sign the lease to get a feel of who you will deal with in the future in case you decide to move in.

Do They Allow Pets?

If you’re a cat lover, you obviously don’t want to part ways with it when it is time to move. Find out if they allow people to have pets where you’re moving to. You could sign a lease then later realize you have to give it out to your friend. Pretty sad right?

How About the Surrounding Areas?

As important as the house you move in is, so is the surrounding area. Take a mental note of what you see when approaching the house. How are the roads?

Are there any bars surrounding the house? Is the house close to the main road? Are there street lights? Is there a lot of human traffic during rush hour? Try and visit the place during the day and night to get a feel of what you are getting yourself into.

When moving into a new apartment, you might get too excited to a point of forgetting the important things.  Having an apartment checklist will make your house search much easier.