If you're considering renting, the process of finding a home to rent can be a bit of overwhelming and time-consuming. However, it is possible to make your search for the right rental home smarter and more efficient with a few steps. 

Step 1: Figure Out Your Budget.

Your first step in choosing the right rental home for you is determining your budget and how much you can comfortably pay each month. Ultimately, you should spend no more than about 30 percent of your income on your rent. In some cases, your landlord could have specific income limits. For example, your landlord could require that you make four times as much as your rent or that your rent does not exceed a certain percent (such as 25 percent) of your monthly income. 

It is important that you remember that rent is not the only expense you will have each month. You also need to budget accordingly for utilities (unless they're covered by your landlord), internet, cable, and any other extras that may be available to you as a renter, such as storage, parking, and on-site laundry. 

Step 2: Decide on the Features That You Want and Prepare to Compromise.

While there are must-haves in a rental home, there are also some features that would be nice to have. Make a list of these. Some example features are fireplaces and patios. It may be possible to squeeze some of these into your budget. 

You should also be ready to make compromises. Are you willing to pay extra to get the ground-floor apartment and covered parking, or would you rather have the fireplace and have to walk up the stairs? Are you going to be okay with only a shower, or do you need a full bathroom? Would you be willing to give up a home with a nice yard in the suburbs so that you can live closer to the city with less of a commute? These are compromises that you may need to make in order to stay within your budget or to get the extras that you want.

Step 3: Research the Area Thoroughly.

Once you have located a couple of rental homes or apartments, it's time to do some homework. You need to find out what goes on in the neighborhood (car break-ins, home burglaries, vandalism, etc.) so that you know if you feel comfortable enough living there all the time. And, if you have kids, you want to know if the school district is up to par. You should also look for the proximity of drugstores, grocery stores, coffee shops, and similar establishments, in addition to public transportation, churches, medical offices, fitness centers, etc. 

For help finding houses for rent, contact a real estate agency like Charles L Moles Real Estate Services.