Renting a home from an owner is not that different than renting it from a housing authority. Both come with certain do's and don'ts, both in terms of finding your property and once you are in it. Let's take a look at the rental homes by owners dos & don'ts.

Rental Homes by Owners Dos & Don'ts:

The Do's:

1. Do make sure that you are qualified for the property. Calculate whether you can afford the rent, in other words, which should be no more than 1/3 of your disposable income. Any more than 1/3, and you will struggle to pay all your other bills.

2. Do have a copy of your credit report ready. You can get one per year for free from each of the credit checking agencies. This will ensure that you know whether you will be accepted if you want to rent the property. Also, if you find any errors on your file, make sure that you address them before you apply for the property, so that the home owner renting out the property will have a correct picture of who you are.

3. Do have copies of your ID, social security number, and proof of income. This enables landlords to calculate your gross monthly income for affordability.

4. Do be ready to pay two months' rent as a security deposit if you have a credit score between 500 and 600, if you have had a short sale or foreclosure, or if you have filed for bankruptcy.

5. Do tell the landlord about any pets that you may have before looking at the property. You should also have photographs of your pets and vet records to show that they are healthy.

6. Do get hold of a map of the area that you are considering and go explore them before you decide to put in for a viewing. This will give you an idea of the neighborhood and the area, and will tell you whether or not you will feel comfortable within that community.

7. Do get a friend to check out the area for you, particularly if you are from out of town. This can be anyone you trust. Most tenancy agreements are "sight unseen", which means you cannot change your mind after signing just because you didn't look at it before and now decide that you don't like it.

The Don'ts:

1. Don't ask your landlord whether the neighborhood is safe or good. This question cannot be answered due to discrimination liability. You can check crime statistics online or with the local police department.

2. Don't lie about any of your negative records. Tell the truth because honesty is always the best policy, and the landlord will appreciate that as well. They are people too, and do understanding difficult situations.

3. Don't talk about being desperate or that you need a property immediately. You can generally move in within a few days, so don't rush things.

These are the main rental homes by owners dos & don'ts. Follow them to find a house that you can call a home.