Are you among the 65% of under-30s who are currently looking to rent your first home away from home? You’ve got your work cut out for you.
As rent prices soar across the country, it’s more important than ever to find something that ticks all your boxes. You don’t want to find yourself on the hunt for a humble abode any time soon again.
Check out these apartment rental tips to help you find something that will suit your style for many years to come.
1. Stay Within Your Budget
Nowadays, finding an apartment rental you can afford is difficult, but not impossible.
You shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross monthly income on rent. Apart from ongoing rental costs, remember you also need to pay a security deposit in your first month, too.
You can use the 50/30/20 rule to work out the rest of your budget. This formula includes 50% for living expenses (including rent), 30% for lifestyle items, and 20% for savings.
Be realistic, this budget must guide your spending habits until your next pay increase. Don’t forget to set a little money aside for renters’ insurance and unexpected costs, too.
If you do the math, and can’t afford any of the apartments in your area, you should consider a smaller apartment, or look into sharing with a roommate.
2. List Your Needs
Make a checklist of things you need from an apartment, as well as some nice-to-haves. Some of these necessities might include a close location to your work or school, access to public transport, or pet-friendly accommodation.
If you overlook any of the things important to you, you’ll find yourself on the hunt for a new apartment very soon.
Don’t underestimate the power of ‘wants’ in ensuring you have a pleasant stay. An onsite swimming pool or high-quality finishes go a long way toward ensuring you want to stay longer in your chosen apartment.
It makes sense to start your search looking for the perfect apartment, and then adjust your list according to what’s available. Always keep this checklist handy while perusing apartment rental advertising sites or notice boards.
3. Consider Inclusions
Unpredictable utility costs can eat into your budget. One way to get around this is to search for an apartment that comes with utility costs included in your rent.
Some communities bill their tenants directly for utilities. Although this doesn’t help you avoid unexpectedly high bills, you’ll save money on the initial deposits and set up costs involved in applying for a separate account.
Make sure you know exactly how you’re expected to handle payments for water, utilities, and internet at the outset. You should insist that your landlord includes details about utility payments and who is responsible for them in your agreement.
Don’t forget to ask about parking for you and your guests, either. Some apartments have strict rules regarding visitors’ cars.
4. Ask About the Landlord
Your landlord can play a vital role in how much you enjoy your stay in their apartment. Often, you might never meet them, as they’ve engaged a property manager to run their affairs for them.
Sometimes you might rent directly from a private person or business that owns the apartment. According to Liberty Properties, you’re better off renting from a business that owns their rental properties.
These entities have a deeper commitment to the upkeep and maintenance of these buildings. Plus, they have the financial clout to keep their properties in the best shape.
5. Apartment Rental Tips For the Walkthrough
Don’t arrange to view an apartment until you’re clear on all the above issues. Visiting an apartment that’s out of your league can tempt you into signing up for something you can’t afford.
Ask your landlord or their representative to walk through the apartment with you, so you can ask questions if needed.
The most important thing to take note of is the ‘feel’ of the apartment. Can you see yourself living there and visualize where your furniture will go?
Then go through each room and look for snags like low water pressure, peeling paint, dampness, or damages. You must insist that the landlord repairs these issues before you sign the lease.
During this preliminary inspection, you should ask about maintenance issues and who is responsible for fixing them, too.
If you decide to rent the apartment, make sure the property manager conducts a second walkthrough with you to make sure everything’s in good order before you move in.
6. Apartment Rental Application Tips
As a first-time renter, you’re likely unaware of the jargon involved in this process, yet applying for an apartment is relatively simple.
You’ll fill out an application form and pay a nominal application fee. Your landlord will run a credit check and usually let you know within a few days if they approve your application.
If you don’t have any credit, you might need a guarantor to vouch for you. The landlord will also run a credit check on their finances since they’re responsible for your rent if you can’t pay.
7. Take Time to Understand the Lease
Signing the lease on a new apartment is an exciting time, but you need to stay level-headed about it. Don’t let anyone rush the process, take your time to read every word, including the fine print.
Make sure the lease includes the details about utility payments, parking, and use of any onsite facilities. Make a note of anything you don’t understand and ask the property manager to explain them.
The lease should also outline the rental amount you’re expected to pay and when it’s due. It should also contain a section on annual increases, a pet policy, and maintenance aspects.
Take Time Finding Your Ideal Apartment
Although every rental has its unique aspects, you can go wrong when you stick to these basic apartment rental tips.
A little caution goes a long way. So, if you feel uncomfortable at any stage of the rental process, take a step back and get expert advice before you commit to a lease.
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