Looking for an apartment can be extremely exciting and just plain scary at the same time. That’s true whether you’re looking for your 20th place to live or your first. However, if you’re trying to find your very first place of your own, you probably have some doubts and questions that more seasoned renters don’t.
Renting an apartment isn’t rocket science, but there are some basic principles of which you should be aware. Keep reading to learn more if you’re a first-time renter looking for a place of your very own.
Determine Your Budget
When you’re renting for the very first time, there’s a good chance you’re not sleeping on a pile of money at night. That’s why you need to sit down and carefully figure out how much you can afford to spend on rent each month.
Spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on rent is ideal. If you’re living with a roommate or significant other, you’ll have more buying power, but only if you’re both pulling in a paycheck. The same 30% rule applies if you’re splitting the rent.
In some particularly expensive markets like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, spending as much as 40% is common, but try to avoid it whenever possible.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
Before you can sign a lease, you’ll need to prove how much you make and that you are reliable. Bring a few months’ worth of pay stubs on apartment hunting trips, as well as anything else that might help you.
Credit reports with a good score, as well as bank account statements that show you have some cash on hand can help make a landlord take you seriously. This is especially important if you’re under 30 and trying to rent in a crowded market.
Find the Right Area
Whether you’re across the world or down the street from your parent’s house, finding the right area for a rental is essential. Take the time to figure out how you’ll get around, especially if you don’t have a car. If you do, will you be able to park it on premises or nearby? Will you be stuck in two hours of traffic each day to get to work?
You should also take the time to walk around in any area you’re considering. Are there amenities around? Do you feel safe there?
Choosing a rental unit is always about more than just the apartment itself.
Visit Many Apartments
First-time renters have a tendency to find one spot they love and try to move in as soon as possible. There’s no problem with finding places you love – that’s the goal, in fact – but that doesn’t mean your search should be over.
Take time to visit as many apartments as you can in any area you’re considering. You might find one that’s a better fit for you, or one that’s in a slightly better part of the neighborhood.
Meet Your Landlord
Your landlord is sort of like the boss of your apartment and your building. When you get a good one, you’ll get repair work done quickly and you won’t have to worry about things like broken washing machines that are shared by several renters.
Get a bad one though and you could want to move 11-months before your 12-month lease is up. At least meet them and shake hands before moving in.
You can contact Heers Management to learn more about renting your first apartment. From finding the perfect unit to helping tenants find the right building, Heers Management is here to help.