Finding your first apartment is an exciting rite of passage that all young people face at some point. You’ve dreamed of this day probably for years, you’ve planned and saved for it and now you’re ready to take your first giant step out on your own. Have you thought about all the details involved in apartment renting? Is there anything else you need to know? The truth is that even seasoned renters may miss a few points on apartment renting, so it’s always a good idea to go over the basics again.
Knowing your financial situation before you begin your search is a must. Sit down with pen and paper (or computer and keyboard) and make a list of all of your income sources. You may have all of this in your head, but you’d be surprised by the impact this information will have on your psyche when you have it on paper and you can see it in black and white. Your rent should be somewhere around 30% or less of your total income. Anything over that will be out of your budget and you’ll find yourself stretching to cover your expenses, a dangerous place to be for a first time renter.
Preparation is Key
Since you probably have no credit or rental history to show, you will have to really do a song and dance to impress your potential landlord. Bring along your bank statements, at least 3 months’ rent in hand, and proof of income. This will show the landlord that you have thought this venture through and have planned for its success.
Take the Lease Seriously
Once you’ve finally found an apartment to your satisfaction, it is time to sign the lease. This may be your first legal document, so you need to take extra care that you understand and agree to all the terms in the agreement. Ask questions about anything you are not clear on and raise issues on anything that you feel uncomfortable about. Don’t sign if you have any doubt. Many landlords will try to rush you through this process, but you must be careful at this stage and not allow them to pressure you. Only sign when you’re ready.
Most landlords are uncomfortable about first time renters, because they feel that they are unprepared for their new life. Demonstrating your organizational and professional abilities by being fully prepared and financially sound can be a major tool in getting you into your first apartment. When you impress the management with your skill and understanding of what is expected of you, there should be no problem with you finding the right place to live.