Renting your first apartment is a big step, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything there is to know. It doesn’t have to be difficult, though there are a lot of things to think about. Of course there’s budget and location, but there’s more you need to know before signing the lease on your first rental. With the renting tips below, your apartment search can be hassle-free. Here are the 10 most important things to keep in mind as you search, to find an apartment that’s perfect for you.
I got a lot of apartment search tips when looking for my first apartment, but if there was one piece of renting advice I wish I had followed, it would have been to be conservative with my budget. There are more expenses than just rent, and you have to consider them all. You might be prepared to live on ramen for a while, but it gets old fast. A good rule of thumb is to keep your living expenses below 25% of your salary, and that’s going to include rent, gas, electric, phone, cable TV/internet, water, food and more. Budget carefully and conservatively.
If this is your first apartment, there’s a good chance you won’t be going it alone. Roommates are an important consideration. If you’ll be moving in with strangers, make arrangements to meet them first. You don’t need them to be your best friends, but you should be able to at least get along. Discuss things like cleaning, daily schedules, and guests. Ask about music listening and TV viewing habits and be sure you can agree on what should be acceptable for everyone. It is also extremely important that all roommates be on the rental agreement as tenants so that everyone is legally responsible for the rent.
If you’re lucky, there might be a lot of apartments for rent in your area. Apartments vary in cost quite a bit, though, and location is a very large factor in what you’ll pay. Of course you also need to consider things like distance to work and/or school, how close you’ll be to shopping and entertainment, and whether you like the neighborhood.
- Pet policy
If you or your roommates have pets or plan to get pets in the future, you need to make sure that you’re only looking at rentals that allow them. On the other hand, you might prefer to live in a building that does not allow pets, or doesn’t allow specific types of pets.
Make sure that there is room for everyone who will be living in your apartment. If you won’t have assigned parking, visit at various times of day to see what parking is like.
This isn’t just about the size of the apartment, although that’s important. You also want to be sure there’s a place for your things, too. Closet and shelf space need to be considered.
Some apartments will require that you have renters insurance. Even if yours doesn’t, it is definitely something worth considering.
- Guest policy
Be sure that the apartments you consider have a guest policy that’s compatible with yours and your roommates’ social habits. Also be sure that you and your roommates all agree on your own guest policy.
How long do you expect to live in this apartment? You’ll be required to sign a lease, so make sure that it’s not longer than you expect to be there, or be prepared to be penalized to get out early.
There is any number of amenities that could be included with your apartment – a pool, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and a lot more. What is essential to you? What would you like to have? What can you do without? If you’re using an online apartment guide, you can probably filter your search to just include your desired amenities.
It seems there’s no shortage of tips for renting an apartment, but it all starts with finding the right place. Keeping these ten things in mind is going to keep you on-target.
Once you find an apartment you like and get settled, it’s time to think about renters insurance and how it can protect you from theft, damages, and injuries. Not every landlord required renters insurance, but it is highly recommended to have it. Plus, it’s affordable. Get a free renters insurance quote online or over the phone at 800-777-5620 and find out just how affordable renters insurance can be.