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Finding a rental can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure of your budget or what you can expect as a renter. Before you begin hunting for an apartment, prepare your budget and a list of questions to ask your potential landlord.
Finding the perfect place to live isn’t easy, but you can find a home and make it feel like it’s truly yours. When considering an apartment, think about the location in which you live, including its proximity to your job.
You should also think about the type of apartment you want and if you’d consider having roommates.
There are many decisions to make, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are tips to help you find your perfect rental.
1. Budget Wisely
Most apartments require you to earn at least three times more than the cost of rent to ensure you’ll be able to pay rent every month.
The first thing you should do before you start looking for apartments is determine your budget for rent. Consider all of your expenses, including the ones you’ll have when you become a renter, like gas, electric, cable, and internet bills.
Next, subtract that amount from your income, and that’s how much you have leftover for rent.
Remember, your apartment might come with other costs, such as parking fees and pet deposits, so it’s best to budget for everything.
Of course, you should never aim to spend your entire monthly income on rent; you should be putting some money away into your savings account to help you save for emergencies and the future.
The price of an apartment will depend on the location and amenities, which can make an apartment more or less expensive.
For example, it’s more expensive to live in the city and less expensive to live in the middle of a building because people typically pay more to live on the ends or at the very top.
The number of bedrooms will also impact the cost, but if you plan on having a roommate, you can cut your rent cost in half.
You should also budget for the costs to move into an apartment. While those will be one-time costs, they should be factored into your budget to help you determine whether or not you can afford to move right now. The costs associated with moving include hiring moving companies, renting trucks, and paying a deposit to secure the apartment home.
2. Always Go on Tours
Before you put down your deposit on a rental, make sure you have the opportunity to scope it out. While an apartment might look great online, it could look completely different in person.
By going on a tour of your potential home, you can give yourself the opportunity to see if there are any problems before you spend any money.
Maybe during the tour, you learn that your bedroom is too small to fit your new mattress.
Additionally, it’s easier to talk to your potential landlord in person than over the phone.
People have a more difficult time lying when they’re talking to someone in person, so by visiting an apartment, you can avoid rental scams and ensure you’re choosing somewhere you really want to live.
3. Ask Questions
Before you commit to an apartment, ask as many questions as you need to determine whether this is the right home for you. A few common questions to ask are:
- Is there a parking fee?
- How long do maintenance orders take to complete?
- What’s included in the cost of rent?
- Are there income requirements?
- Where are the laundry machines located?
The answer to these questions can impact the cost. For example, if laundry is located in your apartment home, your rent will likely be more expensive than an apartment that has laundry in another building or none at all.
Once you have all of your questions answered, you’ll have a better idea about the apartment and whether or not it’s affordable and you want to live there.
4. Ask About Pet Policies
Some apartment complexes allow pets and others don’t. If you want to get a pet in the near future or bring your pet from another home, you’ll need to ensure your complex allows pets.
If your complex does allow pets, ask about the pet policy. Some policies prohibit certain breeds, such as bully breeds, which is essential information if you have one of those dogs.
Additionally, you’ll likely have to pay a pet deposit and monthly pet rent. If that’s the case, ask your potential landlord how much pet fees will cost you so you have a better idea about how much you’ll pay each month.
5. Take Your Time
Finding the perfect home takes time, and it’s never necessary to rush unless your current lease is coming to an end and you haven’t found a home yet.
Go through the complex and the apartment to ensure it’s somewhere you’d enjoy living if you have the time. Feel free to spend as much time as you like before you make a decision to put down a deposit.
However, be aware that apartments in cities go quickly, so you could lose your opportunity if you take too long.
6. Read Reviews
Some apartments will look perfect online and in person, but if the complex has poor management, you might end up hating your living situation. For example, suppose maintenance requests take months to be addressed.
In that case, you could face anything from minor irritations to significant problems if an important appliance, such as your washing machine, breaks down.
You can learn about the apartment from actual tenants or past tenants by reading reviews.
Make sure to read both the positive and negative reviews to get an idea about the types of behavior you can tolerate for your landlord and what’s non-negotiable.
7. Be Prepared to Compromise
Depending on your budget, you might have to compromise on amenities and space. As you know, the better and larger the apartment, the more expensive it will be to rent.
Additional amenities like on-site laundry, pools, and a gym can raise your rent prices even more.
If you have a small budget, you’ll have to compromise on some features of an apartment, including space.
However, you can still love your apartment even though it’s not exactly what you wanted.