Costs to Keep in Mind When Renting Your Dream Home

One of the most exciting times in your life is when you’ve saved up enough to start hunting for your first rental home. Moving into your own house is like a rite of passage in life and signals that you’re all grown up and living the good life as an adult

There’s more to renting your dream home than the price tag on the real estate advertising. It can shipwreck the best deal if you enter into negotiations without knowing all the additional costs involved in property rentals. It’s especially true if you’re renting from a private landlord, as you have to double-check every contractual fact.

Let’s take a look at all the fees and costs you might incur when renting property. Knowing about these will greatly benefit you, as you won’t enter into negotiations only to realize half-way through that your budget isn’t sufficient.

Rental Agent or Private Landlord?

When you rent from a private landlord, it might seem like less red-tape, but you also have to double-check the contract. Most private landlords draw up their contracts to save money, but you can lose valuable information in translation in such cases.

If you rent privately, be sure to check the fine print. Ask specifically about the deposit, how much it’ll be and in which account they’ll keep it. Deposits should be held separately in an interest-bearing account and not in the landlord’s bank account. Also, check to see when the amount is payable and whether you can pay it in installments.

If you’re using a rental agent, you should ask all the same questions, including how much commission they charge and who’ll pay it. Most landlords are open to negotiating on the deposit amount and down-payment schedule as it’s not their money to keep. It could help you have more cash flow in the first two to three months for other essential costs.

Is the Water Usage Included or Separate?

It’s important to know what the monthly rental covers and excludes. Ask the agent to clearly show you in the contract where water usage costs are stipulated. If it’s included, ask how much water per month you may use before being charged for additional usage. The contract should indicate these details.

If your water is excluded from the rental amount, you’ll have additional expenses when applying for this utility from the local municipality or town council. The cost depends on where the property is located. You’ll have to budget for this as part of your initial expenses to have running water when you occupy the property. You’d have to pay a utility deposit that’ll be kept in an escrow account until you vacate the house at the end of your lease agreement.

Do a Proper Check on All the Plumbing

A few things can unexpectedly load up on expenses, and leaking plumbing is one of those. Take the time to go through all the pipes and taps on the property and check for any dripping or leaking water.

It’s advisable to also look for wet or damp walls or floors. It could be an indication that a pipe inside it might be leaking. It can cost an astronomical amount of money on your utility bill should this go unnoticed for a while. If the property has a garden, you should check the same outside. Wet patches of water or damp soil could be an indication of damaged and leaking water pipes.

If you suspect that there might be a problem, it doesn’t have to ruin your dream rental home. Mention your concerns with the real estate agent or landlord, and ask that they arrange to fix it before you occupy the property.

Is Electricity Included?

All the same advice regarding water usage also applies to the energy use of the house or apartment. You should make sure you have to pay a utility deposit for electricity before signing the lease agreement.

Some properties have prepaid energy, which means you’ll have to purchase your first month’s electricity in advance. Knowing these facts and amounts will help you to better budget for the move into your new house.

You could also discuss the possibility of replacing electrical appliances with gas. It’s a much more affordable option to cook with gas. You can ask the landlord if the warm water geyser could be replaced with a gas or solar version, and you should ask the landlord if it’s an option they would consider.

costs when renting a place

Choosing a Professional Mover

If you’re moving within the borders of the same town, it might be a huge cost saving to ask a few friends with cars or pickup trucks to help you move. In return, you could offer them cash for fuel or a nice lunch. It would save you a nice sum of money.

If you’re moving to another city or state, it’s an entirely different story and can be a rather significant expense. It’s vital to use a mover that’s professional in such a case. It doesn’t help to choose the cheapest option as you could arrive in your new town with damaged furniture and appliances.

It’s advisable to contact as many movers as you can for comprehensive quotes. If you can afford it, insure the contents of the boxes during the move. Most trusted logistics companies offer insurance against force majeure or in case of accidents or theft.

Professional movers will supply you with sturdy boxes for packing up your possessions. These can protect your most valuable belongings and breakables during the move. A little bit of extra care goes a fair way in long term savings.

Internet Providers 

Remember to ask the landlord or real estate agent whether the house or apartment includes WiFi. It could have all the equipment, but you still have to pay additionally for the connectivity.

It would help if you compare broadband prices from local suppliers in the area to get the best deal. It’s advisable to do this before moving in, especially if you work from home or have smart appliances. 

Pet and Pest Control Deposits

It’s often an additional expense the tenant only realizes when it’s too late.

Discuss with your landlord or agent whether you’re responsible for any additional costs apart from the security deposit. Many landlords require a pet and pest downpayment to fumigate the property after leaving in preparation for the next tenant.

If you have furry friends, ensure that they’re allowed and the budget for the extra costs for moving them in with you. The pet deposit will depend on the size of your animal and the property. It’s also an industry norm to charge a monthly pet fee, and you can discuss this with the agent in advance.

If the house has installed appliances or furniture, the pet deposit might be bigger than usual. The same if the property has a well-kept garden. It’s the landlord’s insurance against any damage that your animals could cause.


Most tenants aren’t responsible for the maintenance of the exterior building or sewerage. There should be a clause in the contract that specifies which parts of the property are part of your cost to maintain and which are the landlord’s responsibility.

It’s advisable to work through each one of these items in the contract before signing. Make sure that you’ll be able to afford the maintenance required. 

Parking, Garage, or Storage Space

You should clarify before moving if you’ll have sufficient storage and parking space. If you own a vehicle and are moving into an apartment building, you might end up paying extra for a lock-up garage or covered parking.

Many apartment units have the option to rent additional storage space. Make sure to evaluate whether you’ll need it when you view the property.

In a Nutshell

If you’re well informed and prepared, moving into a new home can be a fun time. It could be well worth the effort to draw up a checklist before house hunting with questions for the landlord or agent.

Using some of the tips we shared, you can avoid much stress and frustration while viewing various properties. It helps you determine whether you can truly afford the house or apartment before entering into further negotiations.

Consider whether to go through a rental agent or private landlord. Make sure you do a check regarding water, electricity, and internet costs. They might be included in the rent. Do a thorough check on the plumbing and any other maintenance costs to avoid surprises later on.

If you’re going to need extra space, see what options you have. Some owners might not allow pets, and if they do, check if there are additional costs. Finally, taking the time to look into the prices for professional movers can make a big difference. If moving nearby, ask a friend if they can help with a truck or van. 

The more prepared you are regarding your budget and finances, the better it streamlines your searches, as you can eliminate many potential properties before-hand based on costs.

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