Most apartment complexes require residents to give 60 days of notice before moving out. Add time to that for apartment cleaning and painting, and you have three months before an apartment will be move-in ready.
But before you schedule your first appointment with a leasing manager, take a little time to assess how much you can afford to spend on rent and how much you need for life’s necessities. The following questions can help you understand how to align your resources with your living priorities.
1. How Much Can You Afford?
Rent costs should be 20 to 30% of your monthly take-home pay, ideally after you’ve subtracted monthly payments due on existing education and auto loans. Think about how much money you will be spending on gifts for family and friends, as well as weekend trips and annual vacations.
Take the time to prepare a budget that includes large and small expenses, even if they seem insignificant. An honest assessment of your real spending and saving habits will help you create a realistic budget you can actually follow.
2. Which Location Is Best for You?
If being close to work matters to you because you like to sleep in or work late, start your search in nearby apartment communities. If you don’t mind commuting, you’ll find lower monthly rents in suburban areas and still have a reasonable commute.
If you prefer an urban area, check into city transportation services and costs to see if using them would help you save money. Calculate the monthly costs to use those services and compare them to the expense of owning and maintaining a car — be sure to include gas, maintenance costs and parking fees in your numbers. Comparing the two will reveal which option is the better choice for you.
Choose neighborhoods you know to be safe. If you are unfamiliar with an area, ask around. You can ask for guidance from your local police — they’ll be familiar with crime rates or any recurring problems in the neighborhoods you’re considering.
3. Do You Need a Roommate?
Having a roommate will cut not only your apartment rent expenses, but your cable and internet costs, too. Living with someone else can give you enough financial freedom to save money and enjoy a less restrictive budget. If you decide to have a roommate, it’s a good idea to have a written agreement that each of you signs.
4. Are Your Financial Documents Organized?
In addition to background and credit checks, landlords will ask you to provide:
- A letter from your employer confirming your employment
- Pay stubs and other financial documents that show your monthly take-home pay and confirm you can afford the monthly rent, down payments and security deposits
- Tax returns if you are self-employed
- Two references — other than family members — for a landlord to call and ask about your ability to be responsible and trustworthy
Before You Sign a Lease, Contact Triple Crown Corporation
Ask a friend or family member to look over your budget, read the lease agreement and talk through any of your concerns with you. You should also walk through the apartment you’d like to rent once more before signing the lease. Your friend can help you spot any potential problems. Be sure to confirm the completion of cleaning, painting and any promised repairs, as well.
If you follow these steps, you will have gone a long way to taking the stress and guess-work out of finding and renting the right apartment. But, it’s still a big decision. Our knowledgeable leasing agents at Triple Crown Corporation are available to answer your questions about renting in general, and about the apartments and amenities within our different communities. Contact us today to let us know how we can help.