As a first-time renter, you’re about to embark on a very exciting time in your life. Perhaps you just graduated from college or are planning to move out of your parents home – either way, this transition might be completely new to you. Right about now, you may be surprised with all of the logistics involved with renting your first place, so follow these tips for a smooth transition to your first apartment!
Think about your budget. You may or may not have had to juggle many expenses in the past. When you’re looking for a place to rent, it’s important to look at more than just the monthly rent – at the very least, you’ll also have monthly bills for electricity and water, and then add-ons like Internet and cable can increase your expenditures rather quickly. Consider contacting the local utility companies and ask them about the average monthly cost for the area – or better yet, ask the previous renters if possible. When it’s time to move in your new apartment, you’ll also have one-time setup fees for many utilities, so be sure to budget for those added expenses.
Get your priorities straight. Are there specific amenities that you have your heart set on? As a first-time renter, it’s very easy to set your expectations too high – after all, living with Mom & Dad was probably the most luxurious lifestyle that you’ve experienced, so it’s understandable that you’d desire something similar when searching for an apartment. Be sure that you’re open to compromise in some areas of less importance to you. Maybe you can live without a walk-in closet or stainless steel appliances – especially if there’s a trade off, like bigger rooms or lower monthly rent payments.
Think (kind of) long-term. Moving is a big process, and chances are, you don’t want to go through it too often! When you are looking for an apartment, consider factors like the possibility of gaining a roommate or getting a pet. You might need more space or may need to have the community’s permission to add a roommate or bring a new pet home! If any life changes such as these are in your near future, be sure that you find a community that fits your lifestyle and your growing needs.
Understand your lease. When you’re given a lease to sign, be sure to take your time reading through it and don’t hesitate to ask questions. This document is a legally binding contract, so you’ll want to be sure you understand what exactly you will be bound to while living in your new apartment. Be sure to note the length of the lease, and make sure you know what the penalty would be if you were to move out before it ends. You’ll also want to check for rules about painting or improvements, late payments, and maintenance responsibilities, just to name a few. Additionally, most properties require you to hold a renters insurance policy, so be sure to have that set up to begin on the first day of your lease. It’s great to know as much information as possible before you sign!
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