If you are considering renting a place to live, but assume your options are limited to apartments, think again. More than ever before, would-be renters are finding a variety of single-family homes available for lease, making the option of renting more appealing to a wider market. And even traditional real estate brokerage firms have gotten into rentals, acting as a marketing and leasing agent for clients who either can’t or prefer not to sell their single-family homes.
But not all rental homes are created equal. Unlike a large apartment community with on-site management and a clear set of rules for all tenants, single-family rentals vary drastically from home to home, location to location and, most notably, landlord to landlord.
To help in your search for the perfect home, Tinley Park, Ill.-based MACK Companies, the nation’s premier provider of single-family, turn-key investment properties and the largest owner of single-family investment properties in the Chicago area, offers these tips to consider when touring a home:
• Look for homes near strong, vibrant downtown commercial corridors. If the nearby businesses are thriving, that’s a positive for the area as a whole.
• Check out the infrastructure of the community. Are the parks clean? Are the police and fire departments well-funded? Does the area offer a highly-rated medical facility?
• Ask about the schools. Even if you don’t have school-age children, living in a community with good schools enhances property values in general and thus can potentially make your rental experience more positive.
• Double-check proximity to transportation, whether it’s a train line or expressway. You'll want to know if you’ll have easy access to other parts of the Chicago area.
• Look for a neighborhood with a high ratio of owner occupants to rentals. As a general rule, people who own their homes are more likely to have a well-maintained property than homes occupied by a renter.
• Pay close attention to the condition of the home. That means not only looking to see that the appliances, flooring, etc. are in good shape, but that the structure of the home appears sound. You don’t want to have to deal with the headache of damage from a leaking roof, for example. Plus, the condition of the home is a direct reflection of the type of landlord you’ll have. A landlord that takes pride in the property will likely treat you well, too.
If you’re undecided about whether to rent a home or take the leap and purchase, the New York Times offers this calculator that helps determine which the best choice is, fiscally.
About MACK Companies: MACK Companies purchases, redevelops and leases a new home every three days. The firm currently manages approximately 600 single-family rentals, of which it owns 350 of those properties. It manages the other 250 single-family homes for real estate investors who purchased the homes through MACK’s AAA+ Investment Properties program. For more information on MACK Companies, visit the firm’s new website, www.MACKcompanies.us. And for more information on the MACK Estates line of luxury resale foreclosures, visit www.MACKestates.com.