6 Essential Tips for First-Time Apartment Renters

Moving to a new location always presents a good opportunity to start fresh, and start a new chapter of your life with joy and confidence. Well, at least if you manage to nail down your rental from the get-go.

You see, most people tend to look at the choice of new lodging and all things prior to moving as nothing else than a simple box you need to check before you continue with other proceedings. But, rest assured, as menial as these things may look at first glance, they will have a profound impact on your future life. The mistakes you make here can haunt your personal finances and lifestyle for quite some time after you open up the boxes and settle down.

Well, let’s make sure that’s not the case. Here are some of the most critical tips for hunting down the ideal rental.

See how much you can actually spend

Every great story starts with a great budget. Your story is really no different. So, take an honest look at your finances, your monthly income, and expected expenses (student debt, the average cost of utilities at the location where you want to live, etc.). Somewhere between these numbers, you will find the rent you can afford to spend. If you are having trouble finding that sweet spot it may be the time to bring some order in your personal finances. Budgeting rules like the popular 50/30/20 model will help you find much-needed room for the rental properties that suit your lifestyle the best.

Establish your red lines

We mean both the things you would absolutely not accept as well as things you can’t live without. While you are doing that, keep in mind two things. First, you really don’t want to be too detailed since you will waste a lot of precious time and need to trim down the list of requirements regardless. Ideally, your new rental unit should serve you for at least 12 months. Try to see where you are going to be during that period career, family, and lifestyle-wise. So, it’s always great to hunt down your Bohemian living room, but be sure you will be able to enjoy it long enough to warrant the location.

Nail down the location of your rental

Out of all the questions we have covered so far, the location probably has the biggest impact on your future quality of life. For instance, Seattle, Washington is widely considered a safe and intellectual city, and the absence of state income tax makes it an incredibly fertile ground for startups. If your personal priorities line up with these things, cheap apartments in Seattle should definitely be on your wishlist. Factors like average cost of living, taxes, job opportunities, and local culture have a very far-reaching impact on anyone’s life. Keep these factors in very high regard when deciding on the location.

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Research the properties and neighborhoods in person

That is, only when you narrow down the list of potential rentals to a manageable number. Trying to check all properties that pop on your radar will quickly leave your relocation budget dry. But, be sure to check the rentals. You will be able to see the flow of space, go through your inspection checklist, and simply experience how it feels to spend time there. The same goes for the neighborhood. There are some things you can’t pick up with Google Maps, online forums, or crime rate trackers. Pay attention to people, overall feeling, noise levels, and other small things that are critical to an enjoyable life.

Double-check renters’ rights and lease agreement

So, if you are going to spend longer periods of time at some location you absolutely need to know what landlords are allowed to do and what they are not. Because some head bumping will occur sooner than later. You have to keep your own protected. Keeping that in mind, it is good to know that this type of legislation can vary from state to state and area to area so pay attention to your location. Also, when you finally come to the point of signing the lease agreement, be sure to get some legal help or double-check the fine print. Small misunderstandings can have huge implications on your life.

Get yourself renters’ insurance

Last but not least, let’s make sure you are well protected all throughout your tenancy. This type of insurance (sometimes, it is also referred to as tenant insurance) covers your possessions from theft, fire, and other hazards. What’s even better is that the policy also includes liability insurance and extends to the landlord’s property. So, if, in any case of an accident, the property sustains some damage, you will be covered for that as well. Finally, tenant insurance may sometimes cover living expenses in the case you need to vacate the rental for repairs. Not that bad for an average annual price of $157.

Well, we hope you enjoyed this short list of essential tips you should check before settling into a new rental apartment. Of course, you should look at this roundup more as the tip of the iceberg and something to keep you on track – there will be plenty of time to iron out other small wrinkles you will face along the way. But, the most important thing is that, as you deal with them, you stay away from common tenant pitfalls. The topics we covered above will definitely help you with that.


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