Renting a home can be a great alternative to buying a house or even renting a traditional apartment. By renting a house, you get to enjoy many of the benefits of home ownership (such as your own yard and increased privacy) without the long-term financial commitment. Before you sign a rental agreement on a home, however, there are some questions worth asking the landlord or property manager.

Who will be responsible for lawn maintenance?

Be sure to find out whether or not you will be responsible for maintaining the landscaping on the property while you live there, as this can vary greatly from one property to the next. Some landlords will include yard maintenance (snow shoveling, weed whipping, and lawn mowing) in your monthly rental rate, whereas others will require you to take care of such tasks.

Are pets allowed and, if so, is there a deposit or breed restrictions?

If you have pets, be sure they will be allowed in the home. If pets are allowed, be sure to find out about any necessary pet deposits, which may or may not be refundable. Some landlords will also require you to pay a monthly fee. Furthermore, keep in mind that some landlords will have restrictions on certain pet breeds, such as pit bulls.

What kind of decorations are allowed?

Be sure to find out how much you'll be allowed to decorate your rental home and what you'll need to do before you move out. For example, you may be allowed to paint the walls any color you'd like, but you may be required to repaint them a neutral color before you move out. If you plan on hanging any pictures, swapping out cabinet hardware, or making any other cosmetic changes, be sure to read your rental agreement thoroughly to make sure you won't be forfeiting your security deposit or subjecting yourself to other fees by doing so.

What if the lease needs to be broken?

Life happens, and sometimes tenants need to break a lease. Even if you don't anticipate this happening to you, it's best to find out ahead of time what kind of leeway your landlord typically provides. For example, will you be required to pay off the remaining balance of your lease no matter what, or will you be allowed to find another tenant to take over your lease in the event that you need to move before the contract is up?

For more information, you will want to contact a company such as Charles L Moles Real Estate Services.