Knowledge is power… information is priceless.

Congratulations!  So you are on the move to a new city with a new role on a professional sports team.  Where are you going to live?  What is the area like?  What neighborhoods afford safety, convenience with a good quality of life for you and your family?  How far is the stadium and/or practice facility located from various areas you may want to live?  Relocation is stressful enough, let alone one that can be sudden, which is common in athlete moves.   

Renting is a great option when you first move to an area as it allows you to explore it without the commitment of making a purchase.  You can explore all of the neighborhoods and take time to really learn the different areas and what your preferences are.  Over time, as you become familiar with the city, you’ll have an idea for what the commute time is REALLY like and what neighborhoods mesh with your lifestyle.  Professional sports requires the utmost focus and commitment nearly 24/7 and your living situation needs to support this mission. 

Before calling the agent or property management company that has the listing, think twice.  By working with an agent who specializes in athlete relocation, they can drill down to the details on each and every rental property, because what you don’t know can hurt you.

The 14 Things You Need to Know

  1. Ownership: Who owns the property? Are they local or out of the area?  
  2. Person or Corporation: Is it owned by an individual or a corporate entity (this is usually set up by investors who own property they rent out for tax and liability reasons)
  3. Cash or Loan: Do the owners own the property outright or is there a mortgage?  If so, what is the approximate loan balance?  Are the owners current on their payments?
  4. Liens/Litigation: Are there any liens or pending litigation on the property?  If there is a homeowners or condominium association, are the owners current on their fees?
  5. Management: Is the property managed by a property manager or an owner?  
  6. Reachable: How accessible are they for any questions or concerns? Is there a LOCAL contact available by cell number 24/7?
  7. Additional Costs: Besides the rent, what expenses is the tenant responsible for –  cable, electric, gas, internet, telephone, garbage removal, lawn, landscaping, pool service, security monitoring, pest control, termite treatment, weed management for the yard, etc.?
  8. Repairs: If something needs to be repaired, who is to be contacted and how is that handled?
  9. Upgrades: Have any upgrades, repairs or improvements been done to the property?
  10. Systems: How old is the roof, A/C, heating, water heater, plumbing and electrical systems?
  11. Amenities: Does the rental have access to any amenities such as a pool, gym, clubhouse, etc.?  How can a tenant gain access to the amenities and is there a cost? 
  12. Parking: Can cars be parked on the driveway during the day and/or overnight?  Is parking allowed on the street and when?  Where is parking available for guests?
  13. Rules & Regulations: Is the community you are renting subject to any rules, regulations or covenants and restrictions?  This is critically important as the community’s rules and regulations can be a blessing and/or a curse, depending.  There may be rules regarding parking vehicles on the driveway or in the street overnight and even whether motorcycles are allowed. 
  14. Safety & Security: Is the community gated or is there controlled access of some sort?  Given that you may be away from the property quite often with practice and games, canvas the neighborhood to get a feel for the vibe.  Does the neighborhood look like people are living there on a regular basis or does it have a “ghost town” kind of feel?  Does the community and properties look well maintained and kept up with?  Tired and worn looking structures and overgrown landscaping may be signs of something more going on. 

Armed with this information, you can work with your agent to guide you in making the best possible decision for yourself and your family.  Knowledge is power, information is priceless. 

Cara Ameer is a bi-coastal agent with Coldwell Banker in Orange County, California and Northeast Florida. She is a real estate media contributor and a regular columnist for Inman News.

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