Renters put fair market values to the test

Specific features often demand highest prices

Q: I've been relocated to a different city and need to rent a place. How do I figure out if the price is fair? A: Let's take a look from a property appraiser's point of view, first checking out prices for comparable properties and making a list. While professional appraisers consult public records or listings for information, the researching tenant has other resources, such as local listing services, both Internet and hard copy, and just driving around calling on "For Rent" signs. What to look for? Comparable properties, or "comps," focus on a specific neighborhood or area. Neighborhood plays a top role in determining value, so look around and decide if the location you focus on suits your needs. Since no two properties are identical, features have to be weighed in order to create a balanced comparison. Appraisers also consider price, size, age of property, number of bedrooms, baths, and property upgrades. Upgrades? "Tenants should check if they can plug into their high-tech needs...