Mom Knows Best

Around the world celebrating mom is tradition and what we do in the month of May. Have you ever thought about all the advice you have received over the years, who is the one person who has consistently given you the best advice… if you are like me, it’s your mom!  My mom has been there, she often knows what’s best before I do, and she always wants what’s best for me. When I was looking to rent my first place, she asked a lot of questions and offered a lot of “food for thought”.

Here are some areas where moms will surely share an opinion, have something to say and advice to offer when you are looking for your first rental place? She won’t steer you wrong.

What’s Your Budget?

First time renters often get caught up in the excitement of their “first place” and make the mistake of not budgeting enough and forgetting about regular everyday living expenses.  This can easily and quickly result in a slippery slope which causes them to fall behind on their rent.  Once you fall behind it is difficult to catch up. 

Moms know how their kids spend money, and how they save, if in fact they do save. Moms have seen their kids grow into adulthood and have a good understanding of their spending or saving habits, their social lives, and how they live day to day.  Moms know if their kids are a Starbucks or Tim Horton’s coffee lover.  They know if their daughters take long, hot showers, if their son leaves the lights on in every room he enters or stands with the fridge door open. These may seem like little things, but the water and hydro bill must be paid and it adds up quickly.  When mom discusses a first rental home with her son or daughter, she’ll be sure to remind them to be cautious with their money, and to ensure they are allowing not just for rent the first of the month but all the extra expenses. Moms will want their kids to be able to afford and live in the property but also to enjoy it, enjoy life and still save for the future.

Location Location Location

That’s what every real estate agent will tell you and it’s what we all look for and want, the best location, location, location. People who rent are no different than buyers. They want to be in a great part of town and neighbourhood.  A young twenty something female may want her first apartment to be a quintessential Carry Bradshaw unit, and a young man, maybe a cool loft in an old brick industrial building. Mom will remind them that those units come at a premium.  Moms advice will be to look at the more mundane yet essential points of the location… is it in a safe area of town, is it close to school or work, is public transit easily accessible, if it’s in a loft is it in an industrial part of town making it more prone to noise, is it close to a grocery store, if she knows her child is a runner, mom will ask, is there a park close by?  These are all questions moms will ask, she may even suggest walking around the neighbourhood at various times of the day to get a good sense of the atmosphere and surroundings.  Moms will offer to view the property as well, she’ll know almost instantly if the unit is perfect for her kid.   

Choose Roommates Carefully

In today’s high rental market, money can often be saved by getting a larger unit and sharing with a roommate.  This is a big one, listen to your mom when she doles out her advice on roommates.  Mom is going to remind you to make sure you are comfortable with whomever you choose to live with. Your best friend from university, might not be the best roommate. She’s going to ask, are they working, can they afford their share of the rent, how will utilities be shared, whose names will be on the lease.  Moms will tell their kids; you can’t pass the monkey on this one! Everyone who signs the lease is equally responsible for the rent, bills, upkeep, and any damage. Mom will also remind them to ensure they have a really good idea of who they will be living with and ask the questions, how will cleaning tasks be shared, will groceries be shared or does each tenant have a shelf in the fridge? Will there be house rules; like no late-night party’s during the week, pets yes or no, is smoking allowed?  All these may seem like trivial items and get missed in the excitement of a first apartment but living with someone everyday, can reveal a person’s identity and mom will ensure her child thinks about these points before signing on the dotted line. She may even suggest making a list of “house rules” and sticking it on the fridge.

Rent From a Reputable Landlord

Moms are always worried about people taking advantage of her kids.  In today’s fast paced world and bombardment by social media platforms there are scammers at every turn.  An experienced mom will tell her kids to rent from a licensed property management company. We have all heard the stories lately of people renting properties from representatives and owners that don’t actually own the property.  They happily take first and last months rent and the new tenant is left with money out of pocket and no keys to the door on move-in day. Mom knows best on this one, if it doesn’t “feel” right it probably isn’t. She may even suggest that her kids do some of their own research and see if they can find out details about the owner as a landlord and tell them to ask for references. This is a big one, so kids make sure to heed mom’s advice.

Rent From a Reputable Landlord

When you finally get the keys and move in day has arrived it is exciting, not doubt about it.  Before you start to unpack and move furniture in, mom is likely to tell her kids to walk around the property, take pictures, notes, even a video, and then save it all in a safe place. The moment you take the keys is the moment the owner hands over responsibility to you as a tenant. Some landlords will do a routine check-in with you, take this time to ask last minute questions, and go over everything and note everything, even the little things. If questions arise down the road or on move-out day to your next place, the records you saved from your first day could prove to be beneficial. Moms believe in their kids and are confident they’ve been taught well, to look after things and to be respectful of the property and owner.

Best Interest at Heart

Remember to listen to mom, she really does know best, and always has your best interests at heart! Happy Mother’s Day to You and Your Mom, and all those women who play a mothering role in your life!