The hunt for the perfect apartment can be exciting and a little stressful if you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing. Whether you’re a first-time renter or an experienced pro looking for a comfy place to settle down, there are plenty of things you should consider before signing a lease. While it’s easy to get swept up in the idea of turning a rental into your own special space, renting is something that should be taken seriously. So before you rush into something, take the time to get it right and make sure you’re going to truly love your new apartment home!
Top 10 Things to Consider When Renting an Apartment
1. Move-In Costs
While it only makes sense to look at apartments that fit into your price range, you’ll also need to consider additional move-in costs before you can sign a lease. The majority of rental properties require not only your first month’s rent but a deposit and an application fee before you can move in.
2. Long-Term Costs
After you’ve paid your initial move-in costs, you’ll be required to pay your rent and any other fees listed on your lease every month. Next, you’ll have to budget for other living expenses like electricity, heat, water, cable/internet, renter’s insurance and in some cases, pet rent.
No one wants to sign a lease only to find out later on that they hate where the apartment is located. Take the time to make sure your new place has easy access to the essentials like grocery stores, shopping, school and work!
4. Finding a Co-Signer
If you don’t have a strong credit history or rental history, you may need a co-signer to sign your lease with you. A co-signer must agree to cover your rent if for some reason you are unable to pay.
If you decide to decorate, most leases require that you restore the apartment to the same condition you got it in when your lease is up. That means if you are allowed to make changes, you must pay to put things back when you leave.
6. Who Can Stay?
Some apartment communities limit the number of guests you can have to stay each month or the duration that guests are allowed to visit. Be sure you understand those terms before renting an apartment.
7. Are Pets Allowed?
If you find a pet-friendly apartment, remember that a pet fee is usually required. Also, there are usually certain restrictions on the number of pets and pet breeds that are allowed.
8. What About Roommates?
Usually, anyone who is living in the apartment that is 18 or over must sign the lease. If you have any roommates, make sure they are on the lease so that they are held legally responsible for paying their share of the bills.
Whether you drive or you plan on having visitors over every now and then, parking can be a major factor that some renters overlook. Ask the leasing office what type of parking is available for you and any visitors before renting an apartment.
You don’t have to worry about buying tools to fix things around the apartment when they break down. Make sure you understand how the maintenance services work at your new apartment community, so you’ll never be stuck without help in an emergency.
10. Breaking the Lease
What happens if something comes up that forces you to break your lease? Can you sublet your apartment? Will you have to pay penalties? Before you make this big commitment, be sure you can stick it out or that you understand the consequences of breaking your contract.