Believe it or not, more than 100 million Americans rent rather than own their homes. For most of them, the most stressful part of renting was signing the lease for their first apartment.
If you’re looking forward to renting an apartment for the first time, but feel that the process is already overwhelming, you’re not alone. There’s a lot to consider before you can find a great apartment to call home.
However, finding your first apartment doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind when you start your search.
Set a Firm Budget First
Before you start looking into how to rent an apartment, you need to know what you can afford to pay for your new home each month. Remember, rent is just one part of the equation. You also have to budget for utilities, insurance, and any other incidental costs associated with your apartment.
Think about how much money you bring in each month.
As a general rule, try to keep the cost of rent as low as possible. This way, you’ll still have plenty of money each month to cover your other bills.
If rent in your area is too expensive for you to afford on your own, you can always look into getting a roommate to offset the costs.
Whatever your budget is, make sure to only look at properties that fit your budget. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with an apartment that you can’t afford.
Pay Attention to the Location
Though your budget is important, you also need to think about where you want to live before you start looking into renting an apartment. Think about the parts of town you frequent most and look for apartments that are close to your preferred area.
This will make your daily life easier and cuts down on the length of your commute to work every day.
If you can’t find available rentals in your preferred area, start expanding your search around your desired location. The closer you can get to your preferred location, the happier you’ll be.
Tour the Property in Person If Possible
According to the team at The Ryse Residences, it’s always best to tour apartments in person. This gives you the chance to get a feel for the community and see first-hand what the amenities and fixtures are like.
Unfortunately, many landlords hide less desirable details when posting pictures online by only showing model units that never get rented out. This makes it hard to determine if a unit has everything you want or needs serious repair work before you can be comfortable in the rental.
If you can’t tour the property in person, see if the rental manager can send you a virtual tour of the unit that’s available for rent. Most managers will be more than happy to help you out.
Read Through the Lease Agreement
If you’re interested in an apartment and are ready to sign a lease agreement, don’t rush into things. Take your time and read through the copy of the lease that your apartment manager gives you.
Make sure you understand your responsibilities as a tenant and familiarize yourself with the rules associated with the property. If you violate those rules, your landlord may be able to evict you or charge you hefty fines for each violation.
You’ll also want to read up on the responsibilities your landlord has. This may include the types of maintenance they’re required to provide and the amount of notice they’re required to give you before entering your apartment for any reason.
Ask Questions Before You Sign Anything
If anything seems unclear, don’t hesitate to ask your landlord for clarification. Responsible landlords will be happy to explain the lease in detail. After all, it’s in their best interest to make sure you understand the rules in their entirety.
If the landlord isn’t willing to go through the lease with you or won’t answer your questions, you may want to keep looking for a different rental. Their unwillingness to answer your questions often means they won’t be willing to deal with any repairs that might pop up in the future.
Don’t Rush the Process
The most important thing to remember when looking for an apartment is to take your time. Look at several properties before you make your decision and compare their rental rates, locations, and amenities they offer in detail.
If possible, wait until the off-season to sign your lease. The best time to rent an apartment is when fewer people are looking to move. Many complexes and landlords offer cheaper rental rates during those slow times as an incentive to attract new tenants.
The more patient you can be, the easier it will be for you to find an apartment you’ll love living in at a price you can afford for years to come.
Do a Thorough Walkthrough After Signing the Lease
Before you move in, your landlord will expect you to fill out a move-in condition form. This helps them keep track of the damage caused by previous tenants and can help you get more of your security deposit back when you move out.
Take your time and fill out the condition form as accurately as possible. Make note of all damage that you find, no matter how small it might seem. If you can, take pictures of the damage to back up your claims.
Renting an Apartment Is Easier Than You Think
Renting an apartment for the first time is both exciting and stressful. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to find a unit you love at a price you can afford.
Once you move in, just remember to adhere to the terms of your lease agreement as closely as possible. Violating even a single term can get you in trouble with your landlord and, at best, make it difficult to renew your lease if you choose to stay.
Looking for more tips and tricks to help you turn your first apartment into a place to call home? Check out our latest posts.
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