Friday, May 13, 2011
Renting a Home in USA - Alpha Meets Beta
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For any given reason mostly work related while you relocate here are some tips that will help you find your new home.
Is Alpha smarter than a 5th grader?
The first thing our Marketing/HR representative wanted us to know when we landed here is - where all the 50 states fall(roughly:) on the map and the important cities in the USA.Google to the rescue.Type in your new work location and it will bring all that you need and that you don't in and around that area.Gather first hand information about the new location from friends/relatives who already live there or the guy who interviewed you.And some 2nd hand information from your network - The Internet.
Sharing is not just an option anymore for Alpha
You will not be able to rent/lease on your day one in the country, as the rental people will run a background check and will reject you.Not because you are a criminal or that you ran crazy across the busy interstate but because you don't have the magic wand AKA credit score.Whether you are renting or buying a house,loaning for a car ,applying for a credit card or even getting married:) you need a good credit score.It usually takes an year for you to get there.Until then you will have to find a partner who has a good credit score and who had already rented or owns a house and is looking for a roommate.
For Desis - sulekha.com is "The One" and craigslist etc are not bad options either.Location,Transportation and Rent are a few important things to consider while looking for an apartment.If you work downtown or if you don't have a car make sure there is a train/bus station close by using google maps etc.
Beta ,this is Alpha do you copy?
Make sure you visit the place and talk to your partner/would-be roomie.Whether you are finding a life partner or room partner Internet/photos/telephone conversations are far from real.While there is not much you can do with people and their volatile minds , you can atleast be sure that there are no bugs/roaches.When you are there in person ask as many questions as you can and gather all the information you need to make a decision.Even if you are sharing an apartment with someone , try to get on to the lease by paying a nominal fee.And pay the rent once in a while using your credit/debit card or check.This will help boost your credit score which as i said is magically(weirdly) important in the paradise nation.
Alpha - Army of one
If you are in a position to lease/rent on your own, look out for the move-in specials.Most of the properties run move in specials once in a while.They might offer you a free first month and half off of the 2nd months rent etc.They even offer a referral amount to your friend if he is already living in the property.Visit sites likerent.com which send you a 100 dollar gift card just for filling in a simple survey while giving you useful info.Depending on the duration of the lease that you sign your rent will vary.
There might be a 50 to 200 dollar difference in a months rent between a 6 month and a one year lease.So if you think you are going to live in the area for long its beneficial to sign a one year lease.If you are not so sure, it is better to sign a six month lease.Because your savings on the rent are not worth the lease break fee.There might be additional one time or yearly fee for the swimming pool ,gym,tennis courts etc.They charge a months rent in advance as a security deposit.They will use this amount later for any paint/carpet/other damage/work once you leave and will mail you a check for the rest.
Weapons Ready - Alpha is going in Over
While you can stretch a little packing and moving, there are packers and movers services which will set you free.They are worth the price as you grow older , both age and money wise:).
Internet ,phone and cable are a few necessities that you have to work out in advance so that they can set you up as soon as you move in.Comcast and Verizon are two of the leading providers and they usually bundle up those three services.Thanks to the competition they are available in most of the locations and at competitive prices.Talk to the different providers as they do bargain/give you nice deals.
While you hop from one address to another and busy working on updating your address on your bank accounts etc you can use the USPS(United States Postal Service) mail forwarding service for a nominal fee.
Mission accomplished Over and In
As soon as you move in make sure everything is ok .From carpet to the heater,from oven to the shower - write down the list of things you notice are broken and hand it over in the rental office and you will not be blamed or charged of the security deposit when you leave.Once you settle down if you see any issues complain and get them fixed right away.
If you do not have enough time before you can do all the research using the info above and the WWW and if you are in one of those situations where your new client wants you to start right away - look for a cheap/decent motel close to work which will be your home until you find one.The extended stays normally come with a kitchen which are not a bad option for a temporary stay.
Happy renting your Home Sweet Home - Over and Out!