Are you trying to find your first apartment to rent?
If so, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from! There are more than 21.4 million apartment units in the United States. An apartment is a popular option for people across the country who are looking for amenities and flexibility at an affordable cost.
Finding the best apartment for you can take some time, but you need to know what you need before you begin your search.
Read on to learn the complete checklist you’ll need when renting an apartment!
Know Your Budget
When you are in the market for an apartment you must know your budget.
One of the ways to get a sense of your budget is to make a list of your current monthly income and expenses. Besides bills like your vehicle, cell phone, and internet, you also should look ahead to the future.
How much money are you trying to save each month?
If you’re looking ahead to buying a home in the future, you will need to have money set aside for a down payment and closing costs. Your new apartment should not be so expensive that you can’t save the money you need for use in the future.
If you end up renting an apartment that you can’t afford, it will also put extra stress on you and you won’t be able to enjoy it as much you should.
You may also want to consider renting a room with a roommate so that you can cut down on your monthly costs!
The Importance of a Co-Signer
When you are renting an apartment you may need to have someone co-sign on your behalf.
If you haven’t rented an apartment before, the term “co-signer” may be one you aren’t familiar with.
A co-signer is an individual that also signs their name on your lease as a kind of guarantor that you will pay your rent. In the event that you don’t pay the full amount of your lease, an apartment complex can turn to the guarantor to collect on rent.
If you think you will need a co-signer, consider who may be a good person for the job. Often, speaking to someone like a parent or other trusted relative is your best bet.
Despite having a co-signer on your loan, you should do everything you can to avoid turning to that person to pay your apartment rent.
Location, Location, Location
One of your apartment requirements should be that it’s in a location where you feel safe and comfortable.
Where is the apartment complex located relative to your school, work, family, and friends? What kind of drive will you have to and from work or school each day?
The answer to these questions is very important when you’re picking your apartment. If you choose a place that’s too far away from the places you need to be on a regular basis, you will spend a lot of time in your vehicle and lose time in your day.
Keep in mind that once you sign your lease, you are committing to pay for an apartment for the length of time in the contract. You don’t want to sign a lease you regret a short time later.
Your apartment rent is only one component of the bills you will need to pay to live in your new community.
It’s important that you take into account the other costs you will have in living in your apartment. Some communities have additional expenses for garbage pick-up, cable, and internet. These can add hundreds of dollars above and beyond your rent payment.
Beyond the costs in your community, there will also be other expenses based on where you live. For example, what will be the distance of your daily commute?
If you’re living in an area that is far away from where you work or attend school, you may be spending lots of extra money on commuting costs and wear and tear on your vehicle.
Take these costs into account before you choose your apartment and sign a lease.
Each apartment community has a different reputation and its something you can’t afford to overlook before you decide to live there.
One thing to consider is who owns and operates the apartment complex. If the complex owner is a large company that is established in your area, what kind of reputation do they have?
Spend time reading about reviews and speaking to trusted family and friends about their experience in the community.
When you live in an apartment complex and have a problem with your unit or appliances, you will be at the mercy of its maintenance employees.
In a perfect world, you report a problem to your complex and they dispatch maintenance to fix the issue. Some apartment complexes aren’t as well-known for having a smooth and easy maintenance process.
Avoid moving into an apartment complex that’s known for being inattentive to the needs of its residents.
The apartment community you choose should play an emphasis on safety features for its tenants.
From a secure parking garage to a gated entry with a guard, you should be looking for a community that makes you feel secure. Depending on the area you choose, some of these features may be more meaningful than others.
There are more than 1.4 million burglaries in the United States each year.
One of the ways you can make your apartment safer is by living off of the ground floor. While a first-floor apartment is easier to move into and out of, it’s more of a challenge for a would-be thief to enter and exit.
Wrapping Up: Renting an Apartment That’s Right for You
Renting an apartment that’s right for you is the most important part of the rental process.
By making a list of the things that matter most to you, it will help you ensure you are making the right decision when you put pen to paper on your lease.
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