Renting your first apartment is an exciting experience. However, finding the right apartment rental can quickly get stressful. With so many options available in the market, you may have a tough time narrowing down the best rental units. Plus, you may not be too familiar with the rental process, especially if this is your time renting an apartment.
When you rent your first apartment, this is almost like an exercise of trial and error. The process starts with doing research, communicating with real estate agents, and exploring different rentals in your area. With time and effort, you will eventually be able to locate the ideal property that matches your budget.
When looking for their first apartment, here are several tips for new renters to keep in mind:
1. Buy within your budget
One of the common mistakes first time renters make is getting an apartment that's slightly out of their budget. People may think it's a good idea to trade off a little more money for more features, but the extra cost can quickly catch up to you.
As a first-time renter, it's important to establish a realistic budget and aim to find a place for less than your budget. This allows you to save extra money, which you can use to eventually upgrade your apartment or invest in owning a home. If possible, getting a roommate will allow you to live in a better apartment while still staying within your budget. You'll thank yourself in the future if you start looking for ways to reduces your living costs from now.
2. Get references
Getting references is one of the first things you should do when looking for your first apartment. Having a good reference willing to speak on your behalf can quickly increase a landlord's confidence in your rental application. The best type of reference is an employer who can speak to your work ethic and consistent source of income.
3. Make a list of non-negotiables
When looking for an apartment, it's pretty easy to get overwhelmed by choices. Different apartments have different amenities, and the neighbourhood will influence your overall living experience. To avoid getting overwhelmed by the choices in your city, make a list of non-negotiables.
If you want a neighbourhood with no noise at night, then you can probably cross all downtown options off your list. If you have a pet or need to be close to a certain location, you can factor these into your non-negotiable list. Or if you have a car, you can skip looking at places without parking spaces. Making this list of things you won't compromise on will help you avoid wasting time looking at apartments that don't fit your lifestyle.
4. Ask questions while touring
Showing up to the apartment viewing ready to ask questions will help you get an accurate view of your apartment before making a commitment. Prepare questions about noise levels, the temperature during different seasons, and if there's been a history of pests in the building. Don't be afraid to be annoying or sound skeptical when asking questions.
Your first apartment is a significant investment, and you deserve to know the full picture before signing a lease. Ask if any of the appliances in the apartment has been repaired recently. If your apartment comes with a washing machine and dryer, ask how old they are and what happens in the event they stop working.
5. Prepare relevant paperwork ahead of time
You'll save yourself a lot of time and headaches if you have all the necessary paperwork ready beforehand. Landlords will require various documents, including recent pay stubs, personal references, and sometimes information, to perform a credit check. Having all this information on hand makes it easy to proceed when you see an apartment you like.
Gathering this paperwork ahead of time allows you to give the landlord whatever they need on the same day you express interest. This will increase your chance of beating out other potential tenants.
6. Have someone review the lease with you
Reading a lease is a tedious task, but it's necessary to avoid getting caught up in a bad situation. Even if you take the time to read the lease, it's worth having someone else review it with you as well. Having a second pair of eyes can point out small details you may have missed. It's important to read your lease for restrictions on pets, parking, or guests. Some leases may also have weird clauses about noise after a certain time, so it's important to get familiar with all these details.