It’s finally time: You’re shedding the skin of childhood and hunting for your first apartment. It’s an exciting time, but it can also seem a little daunting. To help you sail smoothly through the process, we’ve gathered some apartment hunting tips as well as a final first apartment checklist. Use these ideas to keep you on target as your hunt begins.
Tip #1: Don’t be too quick to fall in love.
Look at five apartments at least before committing to one. It’s easy to think you’ve found “perfection” when you have nothing to compare it to!
Tip #2: Listen to your gut instincts.
Feel like the neighborhood is shady? Worried about that smell in the apartment? Your gut can and should guide you — at least for the most part.
Tip #3: Consider renting from a property management company.
A property management company is accustomed to working with tenants and will usually offer faster assistance if you need help at two in the morning than a landlord would. Plus, property management companies can be more easily vetted.
Tip #4: Don’t go above 30-35 percent of your salary.
Your rent should equal no more than 35 percent of your salary. Be strict about this. It’s tempting to choose a pricier apartment, but it won’t benefit you when you run out of cash before the end of the month.
Tip #5: Ask about special discounts.
Some property management companies and landlords offer special discounts if you agree to lease for a specific amount of time. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
First Apartment Checklist:
- Have proof of your salary, like a pay stub.
- Bring along your identification in case you want to make an offer for an apartment on the spot.
- Have enough money in your account to cover the first month’s rent, last month’s rent and security deposit.
- If you already have a pet, be upfront about it. Never risk eviction because you fibbed.
- Look at several apartments before making your decision.
- Create a spreadsheet of the bills you’ll need to pay. Ask friends and family members for help generating this budget.
- Do your due diligence on the area you’re moving to. What amenities does it have? Will you feel comfortable living there alone or even with roommates?
- Read the entire rental agreement before signing the contract. It’s a binding legal document, and you deserve to understand it front to back.
Ready to get started? Let Triple Crown know what you’re looking for and we’ll use our considerable local resources to help you find just what you’re looking for.