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Many people believe that owning their own house is fundamental in building the life that they’ve always wanted for themselves. However, owning property and being strapped down to a mortgage ties up your income and limits your flexibility, i.e. moving to a different city or state. The recent economic downturn in the US has prompted many Americans to look for an alternative to home ownership: renting. And people began to look for rental properties.

Many landlords have realized that such a shift was taking place. As a result, many apartment complexes — offering a long list of amenities to attract you and other potential renters — have started popping up like mushrooms. The amenities could be anything from nice outdoor spaces, swimming pools, bars, day care, health and fitness facilities, various luxury features and the list goes on.

Apart from these amazing features, renters also have a long list of choices now. Apartments offering the same things can literally be right next to each other, or maybe across the street from each other. The crisis may have brought along a lot of bad things with it, but if we were to look for a silver lining in this, it would be that it generated a lot of options for renters. This is what finding a townhouse or apartment has become: it’s no longer a matter of finding “a” rental, but finding “the” rental, i.e. exactly what you want.

The benefits for renters do not stop there:

• You’ll be more flexible financially because you don’t need to pay a mortgage and the costs involved with owning property.
• You can move to another location anytime you want to because you are not tied to a mortgage. Furthermore, early lease termination is possible if you are transferred to a new job location.
• Renting is relatively cheaper, as you only need to pay the initial deposit which is usually one month worth of rent and then you can move in. Also, you don’t have to worry about costs for maintenance, renovation, etc.

With all these benefits, if you think that renting is for you, then the next obvious step is to find the right apartment or town home. With all the selection in the market today, finding the apartment of your dreams is quite literally just a few steps away. This also means that you don’t need to sign the first rental agreement you see, out of fear of losing the apartment to the next guy.

So what do you need to do?

• With more options out there, you can look at several properties you like and then create a short list. And from there, figure out which one is perfect for your needs.
• Consider the amenities, the price, your preference, and the distance (from your workplace for example).
• Negotiate. Remember, you have the upper hand and stick to your plan. Go ahead and tell the landlord about the other rentals, that you are looking at, with similar features.

Good luck with your search! But do expect the landlord to run a background check on you. Do not worry about it, it’s just him trying to be safe and taking an extra precaution to protect his property and current tenants. You can visit Instant Background Checks’ website to know more about tenant screening and why landlords conduct such checks.