Guest Post: 5 Things that Seniors Should Look for in a Rental Property

Looking for a new home to rent isn’t exactly the same now as it was when you were younger. Your lifestyle has changed, and what you’re looking for in a home has changed right along it. Whereas the most modern appliances or architectural details used to be at the top of your list, now your concerns are a little more practical.
Sure, a rental home is only temporary and you can always move again if you decide it’s not a great fit, but who wants to go through the hassle of moving every year? It’s best to take the time to find a place that you’re sure will work for you for several years.
When it comes to looking for a good rental property, you’ll have your own unique wish list, but there are certain things that all seniors should consider when choosing the right rental property for them.
1. Affordability
This should always be the first thing that you take into consideration when choosing a rental property. Are you able to afford the monthly rent and will you continue to be able to afford it if you stay for many years? You should also take into account that many rental fees do not include the cost of utilities such as water and electricity.
When you’re comparing the prices of a few different properties on your list, be sure to include the predicted cost of monthly bills. To get an idea of what you can expect, ask the owner or leasing agent, who may have access to past utility bills. But always leave a little wiggle room in your budget, because there’s no exact way to calculate what you’ll pay for utilities per month.
2. Accessibility
Accessibility is definitely an important part of your rental search, even if you are in tip top shape. You should think about the fact that, if you plan on staying for a while, your needs may change over the years. Additionally, you may have friends or family members with limitations come visit you, and you want to be sure that the building is accessible to them as well.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
• How easy is it to get around the rental property? Does it have ramps for wheelchairs, or does it at least have shallow steps for those who find it hard to walk around?

• Do all the rooms (especially the bathroom and bedroom) have facilities that allow those who are in wheelchairs, walkers, or canes to move around freely and comfortably?

• What floor is the unit on and is there an elevator to all areas of the building and parking areas?

• Will the home still be right for you if you become more physically limited?

• Is there a designated parking spot close to the apartment?

• Is there convenient access to public transportation nearby?

3. Proximity
While there’s something to be said for the peace and quiet of a home in a sparsely populated area, the trade-off is that you might be hard-pressed to find what you need, when you need it. For example, a rental property that’s located in the heart of a bustling city might be lacking in terms of tranquility, but if you need to go to the store, get money from the bank, or go out to eat, it would be as easy as leaving your front door and calling a cab.
Also, think about the fact that you might want to have neighbors close by. Not only does it give you the opportunity to meet new people, but it can be handy in case you have an emergency or just need to borrow some sugar. And don’t forget to check out the proximity to things like churches, senior centers, libraries and anywhere else you enjoy spending time.
4. Amenities
Normally you might associate the word “amenities” with a hotel, but these days many residential buildings are positively loaded with convenient extras. While you may not consider them to be required, you should think about how much easier they can make your life. Common amenities include: gyms, lounges, technology centers, pools, dry cleaning, valets, storage units, outdoor barbeques, party rooms, and even restaurants. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of those things right in your own building?
5. Community
Whether you live with a partner, friend or on your own, it’s important to consider the community aspect of any possible rental home. You may want to be in a diverse area with people of all ages, or you may want to talk to a rental agent about finding a particular area or building that’s popular with seniors. These types of buildings are ideal for those looking for new opportunities to meet people and socialize with peers.
Before you make a decision, take a day or two to visit the area around the home and try to strike up a conversation with a few of your future neighbors. It’s a good way to get some of your questions about the neighborhood answered and it gives you an idea of what kind of people live nearby. If all you see is young professionals or college students, for example, it may sway your decision.
If you’ve lived in a home you’ve owned for a long time, it can be strange to start the search for a rental. But it can also be very exciting, as there are so many great options out there and you’re sure to find one that meets all your needs.
Just be sure to put in the proper research and time in order to make the right decision and settle on a place you’ll be happy in for many years to come.Noah Tennant
About the Author: Noah Tennant is an experienced leasing agent who loves helping people find their dream apartment. He’s the founder of Chicago Apartment Leasing Group, which specializes in luxury rentals in The Windy City’s best neighborhoods. Noah also frequently contributes to online publications, in which he shares his knowledge of the real estate market and apartment living tips. For more info, check out Http://www.ChicagoAlg.com.

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