A lease is an agreement between you and your landlord that lays out specifics for the rental period, including the cost of rent, the date rent is due, rules for the rental unit and specifics regarding payment of utilities.
The biggest variances you'll find from lease to lease, however, is the length of the agreement.
There are a lot of different components to a lease that can vary. That's why it's important to read the agreement before signing. That being said, the length of the lease is perhaps one of the most important parts to consider.
The best choice for you will depend on your current station. If you're looking for a more temporary place because of impending life changes like school or work, you'll pay more month-to-month but will save on the expense of breaking a lease early — and trust us, that can be expensive.
Conversely, if you're looking for a long-term residence, a longer lease will save you money monthly and guarantee a set rental rate for a longer period of time.
Once you've nailed down the length of lease you're looking for, you need to think about the other elements of a lease, such as:
Knowing what's included in a lease is important, but what comes beforehand? The first step is filling out an application for your desired rental. If you're accepted, a landlord or leasing agent will follow up. That's when you can get an idea of what your potential lease will look like.