If you’re a recent high school or college grad or you’ve landed your first adult job, you may be looking to move into your first apartment. While a fun time in your life, consider the following six tips to ensure you find the best apartment that meets your needs.
Determine Your Budget and Where You Want to Live
The first steps to finding your first apartment are determining your budget and deciding where you would like to reside. Many experts recommend setting aside 50% of your income for expenses such as rent and utilities while reserving 20% for savings and using the remaining funds for entertainment. When deciding on the area where you’d like to live, consider the distance between the prospective apartment and where you work or attend school. If you rely on public transportation, you’ll probably want to select an apartment that’s on the bus line.
Contact a Professional for Help and Advice
It can be challenging to ride solo on your first apartment hunt, which is why it is wise to enlist the help of a real estate agent to guide you in your search for the perfect first apartment. Real estate agents can be very useful regardless of whether you desire to purchase a home or are just looking for a reasonably priced rental. As a matter of fact, 78% of people who have recently bought a home have rated their real estate agent as being a useful source of information.
Find Apartments That Meet Your Needs
Landlords and realtors can be picky about who they are willing to rent to, but there’s good reason behind this practice. Not every apartment is right for a prospective tenant. Some common rental restrictions include smoking and pet ownership, but don’t be discouraged if landlords deny your rental applications for these reasons.
Over 70% of renters own a pet, so if they can find a place, you can too. When you initially contact a landlord, ask them upfront if they have any restrictions that you should be aware of before you spend the money on an application fee. This will save time and enable you to narrow your search down to places that fit certain criteria and make a good match for your lifestyle.
Tour Apartments With Plenty of Questions in Hand
So, you’ve looked at some amazing pics and have spoken to a realtor. Now it’s time to meet with a prospective landlord and actually tour the apartment. Naturally, you’ll be psyched — and maybe a little nervous, too! That’s why it’s best to be prepared with tons of questions.
It may be helpful to write out a list the night before and tuck it in your pocket for reference. Of course, you are going to want to know more about amenities offered, but don’t forget about the basics such as deposit amounts, included utilities, garbage pick-up, and rules regarding co-occupancy if you plan on getting a roommate.
Ensure the Apartment You Like Is in Good Shape
The reality is that slumlords do exist, so you need to be cautious when renting an apartment. A nice paint job has the capacity to conceal much-needed repairs. Check the lighting and the faucets to ensure that the utilities are functioning properly.
You also need to check the heating and cooling units as standard air ducts. Regardless of whether they are for commercial or residential properties, air duct systems can result in a 25 to 40% loss of energy derived from heating and cooling. You don’t want an apartment with disfunctional systems that’ll end up costing you more in your utility bills.
Carefully Read the Lease Before Signing
Finally, the last and most important piece of advice: read the lease carefully before you sign it. Some landlords have strict rules, and you can be fined for violations. You need to know what you’re getting into, so read the fine print. You may even consider asking a friend or family member who is familiar with law to read it over before you make a commitment.
Moving into your first apartment can be an exhilarating step towards independence. Be sure you are prepared to take on the responsibilities involved so you can find the best apartment for you!