With the summer PCS season coming up quickly and orders are arriving, I have had several friends ask me, Have you ever rented a house without seeing it? Should I consider doing this? I have, and their mouths drop open. I will suggest this if you have done your research about the area and new duty station. Today, with many us about to PCS the military member might be deployed, and the family in another location where it makes it hard to make a trip to see a home. As a landlord also I am on both sides of this question. There are so many things to consider when you rent a house without seeing it. Is it on a busy road? Are the pictures old? Is the yard safe? Are there scary rooms? As a landlord, I want my tenants to be happy. I try to send current pictures and video (real time Face time or Skype) that show as much as possible, and explain the neighborhood and area. There is always the fear that if the tenant is not happy in my home, they will consciously or subconsciously blame me, and as a landlord I strive to have happy tenants. Housing is the single largest expense for most families, and of course you want to make sure you are making good use of your BAH dollars. Have any of you ever rented a house without seeing it in person? My experience of renting a home without seeing it turned out wonderful for our Family. The landlords were Military as well, the home and neighborhood turned out to be better than we had expected. My last piece of advice is to have several conversations with the potential landlords ask all the questions, I have listed a few below that are common ones you might of forget.
If you’re renting a single family house, you should ask who is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the property. Some landlords expect the tenants to mow the lawn and shovel the snow, while others do it themselves so they know the property is being maintained correctly. These responsibilities should be spelled out in the lease so there’s never a question about who is supposed to do what.
- How’s your cell phone signal? You don’t want to be forced to have all phone conversations while hanging out your window or the one tiny corner where you manage to pick up a signal.
- How big are the rooms, really? Great for video or skype. You and the landlord may have different opinions on what room size comfortably fits a queen size bed.
- How’s the water pressure? Don’t forget to ask the follow up, including is the shower pressure weak? How long does it take for the water to get hot in the morning?
- Is the rental noisy? Be quiet for a minute and listen for ambient noise, such as weird fans, generators, barking dogs, loud trucks, trains or noisy neighbors.
- How is the view? Are there enough windows to provide you with the natural light you want? If the curtains are closed, pull them open to check out the view. You might not want your living room overlooking your neighbor’s bathroom.
- What is the heating situation? Because people often rent during the summer, they neglect to ask about the heat. Find out if the heating is individual or shared, such as an uncontrolled radiator, and find out the costs.
- Who do I contact for repairs and how long does it take for someone to come make the repair from the time of my call?
- Are there any repairs that I am required by the lease to pay for myself?
- Who is responsible for the Utilities? What do the utilities cost for the house? (ask for a few past bills to verify)
- What appliances are guaranteed with the lease and which are not repaired or replaced if something happens to them?
- Lastly can I have a dog? Rules on size? Very important to our family, we love our Zoey…pictured below.
Good luck with the summer PCS Season!