How to Rent a House

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Renting a house instead of an apartment offers more space, suitable for larger families.
  • Houses provide additional bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, outdoor space, parking options, and greater privacy.
  • To rent a house, determine your budget, create a list of must-haves, research options, schedule tours, negotiate terms, complete the application, pay the fee, and sign the lease agreement.
  • Renting a house can be favorable for those seeking ample space, privacy, and additional amenities.

Renting a house seems like a counter-productive thing to do when you can buy one instead, but in many situations, people decide to rent. By doing this, people reap some benefits that they cannot otherwise have when buying their own house. But renting a house comes with a lot of responsibilities because you need to make sure you take the right steps during the process. So, how to rent a house? Let’s find out!

Why Rent a House Instead of an Apartment

Renting an apartment might be cheaper, so why would anyone rent a house instead of an apartment? You may have this question on your mind. Well, for some people, the benefits of renting a house may be greater than those of renting an apartment.

For example, houses are better when you have a large family, or when an apartment is not spacious enough for you. Houses have more space than apartments, and you may have more bedrooms or bathrooms, which is of great help when you’re living with other people. There will be more living space, so everyone in the household will have enough room and their own privacy.

Moreover, a house often comes with more outdoor space. This means that you may have your own garden where you can spend your free time enjoying some fresh air while drinking some coffee. You may also be able to let your children and pets run around freely. It gives them more space to have fun while preventing them from running indoors and being at risk of accidents by bumping into things.

Houses generally offer more parking space as well. Now, apartments also have parking spots, but this isn’t always the case, especially when it comes to older buildings. If you have one or two cars, a house will be a better option.

Renting a house also comes with more privacy compared to renting an apartment. An apartment will always be surrounded by other apartments occupied by other people. It is not the most pleasant thing, especially if you’re the type who wants more privacy.

Neighbors may be able to hear everything you do through the walls, look at everything you do and judge you, or complain whenever you make the slightest sound. Not to mention that your neighbors might also be noisy, which might be inconvenient if you need your silence and peace.

Trying to relax or work while your neighbors’ children won’t stop running, crying, or slamming the door is not something you can put up with for long.

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How to Rent a House

Have you decided that renting a house is the way to go? If that’s the case, you need to go through the right steps. So, here is what you’ll have to do:

Figure Out Your Budget

First things first, you should ensure you determine your budget before looking for rental homes. This is because renting a home is often pricier than renting an apartment. The price of the rent will depend on multiple factors, though, such as the size of the house. You may have to pay based on whether the house is a five-bedroom one or small.

So, make sure that you establish how much you’re willing to spend on a rented house before actually renting one. In general, you should make sure you don’t spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. Not to mention that you also have to consider other things like pet fees, renters insurance, utilities, deposits, moving-related expenses, and others.

Before renting, you should also talk to the renter first and find out whether things like pest control or trash pick-up are covered by your rent already.

Make a List of Must-Haves for the House

There are certain things that shouldn’t be missing from anyone’s house. Therefore, you need to make a list of things you want in a house, and figure out if there are certain features that you will not negotiate on no matter what. For example, you may need a house with more than two bedrooms if you have children, so you cannot settle for less.


After you thought about what you want in a house and how much you are willing to spend, you should start researching. This will reveal what your options are. Fortunately, you can do your research online since there are plenty of useful websites you can use. and Zillow are only two of the many options you have. You can even check out the Facebook Marketplace if you want to.

Take Tours

When you find a house that seems convenient and fits your requirements, you should take a tour. Reach out to the property management company or the landlord and tell them you would like to take a tour of the house and schedule a meeting. This is important if you want to make sure the house looks exactly like it does in the pictures. Moreover, you will be able to take pictures or notes so you remember everything about it. It’s a great way to compare it to other houses.

Negotiate the Rental Terms

If you manage to find something that meets your requirements, you may want to start negotiating the terms that will be ideal for you. For instance, you may want to rent for a specific period, or you want to pay less for parking. It’s essential to talk about these things in advance so both you and the landlord will know what to do from that point on.

Complete the Rental Application

When you are done negotiating and you are convinced you will rent the house, you should fill out an application. You’ll need to provide your name, email address, phone number, current and previous address, emergency contacts, and say if you have any pets. Also, you may need to show a real photo ID and some recent pay stubs.

Pay the Application Fee

Paying the application fee is the next step. The amount of the fee will depend on the property management company or landlord, as well as where you are renting the house. The house itself will also influence the fee. A background check will also be performed, and the fee will cover the costs.

Sign the Lease Agreement

After finishing the application process and passing the background check, you will have to sign the lease agreement. Before doing so, you should carefully read every single detail and ensure that what you negotiated is included as well.

The Bottom Line

Renting a house may be the best option for individuals who have larger families, want more space, or simply want to enjoy their privacy. Before you rent a house, think about how much you want to spend on rent and what you want your house to have, after which you should research carefully and find a good option. This way, the process will be smooth and trouble-free.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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