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    What Do Renters Really Want? It's All in the Details!

    What were they thinking?!

    Have you ever walked into a home for the first time and wondered what was going through someone else’s head when they made a particular decision? From green walls to hoarding-style clutter,  every home is different. While HGTV has helped us learn how to exercise our “seeing the potential” muscle, sometimes you can’t help but wonder what was going through a homeowner’s head when they made a particular choice.

    In the same way that homeowners have a variety of tastes, so do renters and home buyers. We reached out to a variety of both to see what non-traditional characteristics people look for in a home, whether to rent or buy! Of course, we heard the usual: school qualities and the commute to work really matter.

    What about those little details though? What do renters really want? 

     1) No Split-Levels

    What do renters really want?

    When we were looking for a place here, we did not want a split level. The front door opens to a staircase--so weird!

    -Allison L.

    I have never heard someone say “Well, gosh, I hope this home is a split level,” so I don’t think Allison is alone!

    2) A Pantry

    What do renters really want?

    Pantry!!!! I never realized how valuable a pantry is until I didn’t have one.

    -Ikeisha T.

    As someone who is in my second consecutive home without a pantry, I can testify to the value of a pantry, but cabinet space might be a trade-off here. If you have other shelving or places to put your food, going without a pantry might be doable.

    3) Multiple Bathrooms

    What do renters really want?

    Most important first: Two toilets.

    -Mary R.

    I feel like there has to be a backstory that makes this a top priority, but I was too scared to ask for clarification.

    4) Some Privacy

    What do renters really want?

    A privacy fence is a MUST for me. I will not look at a house without a fence regardless of how beautiful it is.

    -Sara B.

    I heard this a lot. My initial thought was that this was a deal breaker for pet owners, but the more I dug in, I found that people were also very interested in people able to play with their kids in the back yard without neighbors looking in. Someone suggested that a privacy fence also helps contain sound.

    5) The Kitchen Rules

    What do renters really want?

    The kitchen is my main concern. When looking to rent a house, I want plenty of room to move around, decent appliances (not brand new, but in good condition), a sink that faces out a window (negotiable), plenty of storage for dishes/pots'n pans, a pantry (non-negotiable), easy to clean flooring and back splashes, and preferably larger sinks (not the dinky half-sink things people install these days).

    -Tamra M.

    Tamra clearly knows where she stands on different aspects of her kitchen. The kitchen is definitely an area where you get what you pay for. If having a nice kitchen is this important to you, expect to shell out more in rent or home price because of it, especially with this many specifications.

    6) No Weird Smells

    What do renters really want?

    I smell for weird odors.

    -Stephanie K.

    Are there some smells than a hefty level of Febreze and a deep cleaning by a professional can’t get out?

    Your turn: What are unique characteristics that you look for in a home you’re renting or considering to buy?

    10 Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Lease

    Emilie Burke


    Emilie Burke

    Emilie is the brains, the brawn, and the beauty behind She Does Better, inspiring millennial women to live financially, physically, and professionally fit lives. She writes about overcoming debt, while balancing trying to eat healthy, stay fit, and have a little fun along the way. She is a politics major turned data engineer who graduated from Princeton University in 2015. She lives in North Carolina with her college sweetheart Casey who is currently stationed at Fort Bragg. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV.

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