How to Get Out of Your Rental Agreement After You Buy Your First House
The search is over, the offer's accepted, and you're ready to trade in the renter life for your first house. The only problem? Your lease isn't up. You're probably wondering if there's any way to get out of it without making a first-time buyer mistake that will cost you a lot of money or hurt your credit score. The answer? It depends--but you can try.
Read the fine print
What are you actually responsible for if you break your lease early? A lease is a legally binding document, so knowing what you agreed to is the first step to figuring out what your next steps are. While you're reading the fine print, check to see if there's an early termination clause. If you're buying your first home because you're moving out of the area for a job or a family emergency, you might be able to break your lease without a penalty.
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Tell the story of your first house
Never underestimate the power of open, honest communication. Head over to your property manager's office and tell them all about the new house you just bought. Depending on the company, what kind of tenant you've been, and the location, they might be willing to work with you more than you think. For example, if you live in a college town and want to break your lease a month before school starts, they property manager might be able to rent out your place right away.
Get a subletter
Remember, you're still bear the responsibility of the lease. So, if your subletter skips out on paying their rent, destroys the apartment, or does something else nefarious, you're responsible. That's why it's important to make sure you do a background and credit check on your subletter. Your property manager might be able to help you with that aspect since it's in their best interest to have an upstanding citizen renting the place after you.
Talk to your seller
You don't want to miss a minute of enjoying your new house and you'd probably love to be waiting at the end of the driveway when the old owners are driving away. But in this case, it might be worth it to see if the owners are willing to work with you. You might even be doing them a favor if they haven't quite found their new home yet.
Pay the penalty
In the end, you might have to just count breaking your rental agreement as part of your moving costs. That could mean a lot of different things, like paying the monthly rent until the lease is up, paying a set number of months predefined in your lease, or losing your security deposit. You might not get your security deposit back.
You reached an agreement with your property manager! Great! Now be sure to get it in writing. Not only does getting it in writing protect you, it also helps to make sure everyone understands the agreement in the same way. No matter how nice the property manager is, you need to be sure you protect yourself--especially while you're moving into your first house!
As soon as you're ready to put in an offer, it's time to start thinking about your rental agreement. You'll spend less time worrying about it and more time focusing on what you need for your first home.