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Breaking It Down: How To Find The Perfect Rental for Your Family

I'm super excited to share that hubs and I will be moving soon! We've been in our current apartment for 3 years and are just ready for something different... So as you can imagine, we are overjoyed to have a house! It's super cute on the outside, so we immediately fell in love when I found it online. The details of the house are a bit odd; with built in dressers, the original hardwoods from the 50's, a truly vintage bathroom, it's quirky and perfect for us! As dreamy as I'm making the house hunting thing sound, I'm going to be real... Hunting for the perfect rental isn't always rainbows and butterflies, it was intense and frustrating at times.

After a month or so of weighing our options, trying to decide if we should look into becoming homeowners or if we want to remain tenants for a while longer, we decided renting is the most logical choice for us right now. We looked at over 50 houses or so, and after all that browsing I can safely say that I love the house we chose to rent the most! It's a bit farther from hubby's work than we hoped and is a little bit outdated. Luckily, the storage and the square footage make up for those little dings against it and I think we can fix it up in our own crafty ways and make it look more quirky and cute! With butterscotch yellow walls through out almost the entire house and some really cool landscaping outside, this house stole my heart. We will be living in yellow soon and I'm delighted about it!

Finding a rental home isn't as easy as it looks though, the market is hoppin' in our area and it was difficult to get our foot in the door at most properties (that were worthwhile) before someone had already signed the lease. I fell in love with a house that a realtor gave us a lockbox code for and before we could even call him back to say we liked it, he had a lease signed. How does that even happen? It literally is a homeowners market out there right now, whether you are looking to sell or rent... in my area, now is the time!

While looking for a rental I learned a few things... Although, I'm not a real estate expert, I feel I need to share/remind you of these little pointers while looking for the home for your family:

When looking for a rental, be realistic. If you live in an area where homes are in high demand, you probably won't find a great deal... and if you do, it could likely be a scam. I'm not trying to be a downer here, but we found an amazing house with a pool, right across the street from our college campus, at the perfect price point, supposedly with a few utilities included. Then I realized there was only an email attached to the listing and it became clear, this was likely a scam artist looking for unsuspecting victims. With that said, most landlords are good and most people renting homes online are legit, but be careful who you give money or information to and always trust your instincts!

Work the web like it's your job... I mean it! As I said, properties were getting snatched out from under us while we were in the homes; the rental market right now, in my area, is a dog-eat-dog situation. I downloaded the Trulia Rent app, the Zillow app, and used my ever-trusty-sidekick Craigslist to browse the web and narrow down the houses we wanted to go check out. We then made lists of properties with the address, square footage, price, contact number, and little antedotes about the property. We kept it organized, but also did "drive by" rental scooping too. Just FYI, our house was found on Craigslist within a day of it being posted. My good friend rented her house 10 hours after it was posted. You really can't sit and wait when it comes to the market right now so make a list and go look now!

Take a look before you call... Although it's a cut throat market, it's nice if you drive by the property, if possible, to scoop out the neighborhood and confirm your interest before contacting the realtor/landlord to view the inside of the property. I promise they'll appreciate the fact that you've already confirmed interest and since you can typically look into the windows (if it's vacant) you'll be able to see if it meets your needs. I'm not admitting to entering any homes, but we noticed several vacant houses actually had the back door unlocked or when we called while sitting in front of a property, we were often granted access by realtors.

The most important part(s)... Making a list of the things you wish you had and the things you need in a home is so incredibly vital to your house hunt. We knew when we were looking we didn't want much carpet (if any at all). We also knew that we needed it to be in a nice neighborhood, have decent square footage, plenty of storage for the kayak and all my blog stuff, and a big backyard for the dogs! We found a home that met all of these qualifications and then some of our wish list as well, so we put in app in on the same day we found it online. I'm not saying you should always jump into something but sometimes you just know... and we just knew. (By the way, that's our new blog that we started together - be sure to subscribe over there as well, you'll want to keep up with our antics and adventures!)

Now that I've shared some pointers on looking for the perfect rental home for you and your family, I'd love to know the story behind how you found your perfect home...? Or if you are still on the market, what is on your wish list in your home?

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