Welcome to Los Angeles, home of the stars and one of the most beautiful cities in America. Before you can call the city home, you have to find your own. Renting an apartment can be difficult, boring and even scary if it’s your first time. Here are a few helpful tips to hit the ground running.
1. Research Neighborhoods
LA is a city of neighborhoods, and no two are alike. Do you want to live near the beach? Downtown? Maybe some place quieter like the Valley? Narrow your search to a particular community so you can better compare the rental options available to you.
2. Figure Out What You Can Afford
This is important. You don’t want to settle into your dream apartment and realize you can’t afford it. You need to make a budget to figure out what price range is realistic for you. A good rule of thumb is not to pay more than 25% of your pretax income on rent. Any more than that, and you put yourself at risk financially if you have unplanned expenses later.
3. Begin Filling Out Rental Applications
Now that you’ve figured out where you want to live and what you can afford, get started on your paperwork. Rental applications are long and require a lot of information, including references and credit information. Double-check to make sure you haven’t made any errors before submitting.
4. Prepare for Rejection
It’s going to happen. You’ll find that apartment you love, and before you can even ask for an application, someone else gets there first. Don’t take it personally; there are plenty of great apartments to choose from.
5. Meet Prospective Landlords
Finding a good landlord is almost as important as finding a good apartment. When you meet, ask yourself these questions: Can you get along? Are the rules for renters clear? If you have any questions of your own, be sure to ask.
6. Sign for Your Apartment
You did it! You’ve found a wonderful place to live, and you’re all ready to move in. Before you sign on the dotted line, read through the contract to make sure you understand everything.
7. Ask Yourself: Are You Protected if the Worst Should Happen?
What if there is an earthquake? What if a pipe bursts in your kitchen? You may find yourself holding a bill you can’t afford. Protect yourself, and get renters insurance to cover your home and your most important possessions.
8. Figure Out Transportation
This isn’t New York; getting around can be a challenge. Public transportation is the cheapest option, so see if you are near a subway or bus line. If not, you may need to buy a car, which means you will also need…
9. Auto Insurance
You have to have it; it’s California law, and auto insurance makes sure you’re protected if the worst should happen on the road. Auto insurance doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; there are many affordable options.
10. Get Away From It All
Now that you’re settled, it’s time to kick back and enjoy all LA has to offer. Head to the beaches in Santa Monica, see gorgeous views of the city at Griffith Park, or explore some new restaurants. You’ve earned it.
This should get you started so you can arrive in LA ready to find that great apartment. If you have any questions about renters insurance, call the folks at Freeway Insurance to find a plan that fits your budget.