Renting an apartment is often one of the primary real-life decisions you will make, so searching for your first apartment home should not be taken lightly. Before you can enjoy your first taste of freedom, you will have to make some major decisions. Make things easy on yourself from the start, because carelessness can result in a nightmare living situation. When renting your first apartment, keep these 5 tips in mind:
Research desired neighborhoods
Determine what neighborhoods suit your personality and budget by researching desired areas beforehand. If the distance is reasonable, drive around various neighborhoods that peak your interest. If you have friends and acquaintances who live there, hang out with them and get a feel for the area. Keep your eyes peeled for neighborhood reviews, news about crime and local events on real estate websites, as well as online magazines and newspapers.
Act like an adult
Be well aware of your financial responsibilities, and search for an apartment within your budget. It’s suggested your monthly rent should not exceed 25-30% of your income, so you may have to cut back on spending. When meeting with your future landlord or office manager, be honest, and present yourself in the best light possible. It’s likely you’re competing for a unit with other prospective tenants.
Find a trustworthy roommate or roommates
For many people, renting an apartment for the first time requires living with other people. Communication about house rules, boundaries and due dates for bills must be clear from the beginning. Sharing an apartment with someone is a big commitment, so you need your roommate situation to be with people you can trust.
Don’t ignore red flags
Renting an apartment from a bad landlord or management company is a headache and will put a damper on your living experience. Larger companies will have an online reputation, so if you see a myriad of poor reviews and experiences, stay away. Make sure your questions and concerns are answered or addressed clearly.
Understand your lease
Before you commit to an apartment, review a copy of the lease in its entirety. Ensure that verbal agreements are put into writing, and be aware of fees and penalties outlined in your lease, such as pet rent, pest control fees or additional costs to use a community’s amenities. It should also specify which utilities you are responsible for paying and which ones are included in your rent.