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Millions of Americans live in rented homes or apartments. Which means you have probably signed a lease at one point or another. But before you move in, you need to know more than just the cost of rent.

"I think you definitely need to pay attention to reading the lease yourself," Lubbock Apartment Association President Jon Willey said. There will be a representative who is going to go through it with you, yet, it's kind of your responsibility to know what you're signing."

A lease agreement is usually long, verbose and often confusing. But you need to read the fine print to prevent misunderstandings, or it could be costly.

"It's just all about communication. Any concerns that you want addressed, the time to do it is at the lease signing or prior to the lease signing," Willey said. "Ask what concerns you have and how those will be handled. Make sure that you're comfortable with the answers you're getting before signing the lease contract."

Ask questions that help you understand the terms of the lease.

"Once you sign that, whether you understood it or not, it is going to be enforceable. The management company's job is to enforce the lease contract," Willey said.

You should ask questions like... What are the fees for ending the lease early or paying late? How are payments expected? Is there an automatic renewal at the end of the term? How will maintenance be handled?

"I would just say not to rush the process. This is usually going to be a year long commitment that you're living in the unit," Willey said.

Leases are binding documents. read everything before legally signing your name so you know what you are up against.