Moving out of your family home and into your own space can be an exciting adventure!
But before you pack your bags and sign a lease agreement, there are certain considerations you need to keep in mind to ensure this transition into independent living is smooth and hassle-free.
Here are some important tips you should following when renting an apartment for the first time:
1. Figure Out Your Budget
For students, finances can be quite tight. You need to start budgeting now before renting a new apartment.
Figuring out a budget before you move into a new apartment can help you save money for a damage deposit as well as ensure there is enough money for rent, utilities and groceries.
Finding a roommate is a realistic option to save money on your rent. Students often choose to live together to help balance out their finances.
2. See What Utilities are Included
Utilities are not always included in the cost of rent, so it’s important to find out which ones are included in the lease agreement.
The basics include heat, hot water and electricity. Having any of these included in your rent will save you a significant amount of money each month.
Additional services such as internet, phone and cable are sometimes included but often considered luxuries by most landlords and property managers.
When comparison shopping for a new apartment, weigh the cost of rent versus the cost of utilities. Units that include these things typically cost more – but the difference in rent could more than make up for paying for utilities yourself.
3. Make Sure There’s Enough Space
When you’re a student, it’s likely that you don’t need a lot of living space when it comes to your new apartment.
While paying a higher rent cost for something spacious and luxurious may seem tempting, remember that this living situation is only temporary while you are in school. A smaller space may be easier on your budget.
If you are able to keep the majority of your possession at home with your parents, opt for a smaller space and cheaper rent – unless you plan on having a roommate. Splitting the cost of rent could afford you a larger space.
4. Get Renter’s Insurance
Renter’s insurance may seem like an unnecessary cost, but the risk of losing everything you own to theft or fire could lose you more money in the end.
Typically renter’s insurance policies include property coverage, personal liability coverage (if you or someone you know are injured on the property) and temporary housing if your apartment is deemed uninhabitable.
Not all insurance policies are priced the same, so make sure you shop around for insurance before settling on a policy.
5. Check Out the Parking Situation
If you are seeking a new apartment in an urban area, parking can present a challenge. Most have limited space or even require you to park on the street.
For students who don’t drive and rely on public transportation, this is less of an issue – even though you’ll want to make sure the apartment is on a bus or subway route.
Otherwise, if you plan on parking your car (or even having guests over), you’ll want to consider the amount of parking offered for the apartment building.
And, as a matter of safety, you’ll want to make sure the parking lot is secured or, at the very least, close to the building and well-lit.
6. Understand the Lease Agreement
You may be tempted to skim over this wordy document before signing your name, but it’s crucial you understand the lease agreement before committing yourself to it.
Landlords are at liberty to implement a variety of restrictions and limitations when it comes to the apartment, such as the lease length (some require you to stay for a year), included utilities and services as well as the number of guests or pets you’re allowed to have.
It’s important to understand the terms of the lease in case they are broken by either you or the landlord. Either way, understanding what you are getting into is the best way to circumvent any future disputes.
The key to renting an apartment for the first time is not to jump in blindly. The better you can prepare yourself for apartment living, the more you can enjoy such an exciting time in your life.
Follow the above tips to ensure that your first move is a great one!