Tips for Renting Your First Apartment
The time has come. You’ve moved away from home, you’ve graduated from college and are finally out of the dorms, or another life event has made it possible for you to finally rent your own apartment. Congratulations! If you’re ready to rent your first apartment, there are a host of things you need to take into consideration before signing your name across that lease. Make sure you follow these guideline to keep yourself safe and happy while you secure the apartment of your dreams.
The most important step is the first one—figuring out your budget. It might serve as a slap in the face, but remember, it’s a welcome slap because the last thing you want is to wind up in an apartment you won’t be able to afford in the long run. Most landlords won’t rent to anyone who doesn’t make at least three times the required rent, so keep that in mind as you begin your search. You may find that you can’t get everything you originally wanted for the money you’re willing or able to spend, so compromise is probably in your immediate future. Try and remember that you can change portions of the home to fit your need with décor, so keep an open mind.
How to Find an Apartment
So you’ve decided on a budget, picked the location, and know what kind of apartment you’re looking for. Where can you find it? Utilize a host of apartment listing sites to get a comprehensive look at what’s available in your preferred area. You may find luck like many others have through listing sites like Craigslist, but there are also a lot of scams that you’ll have to be able to detect. Improve your chances of securing the right apartment by using websites like Apartmentfinder.com, Hotpads.com, and Livelovely.com. They have a variety of filters you can use to narrow down the listing of your choice, including cost, number of bedrooms, and various amenities.
How to Handle the Competition
As a prospective tenant, you’ll be competing with a lot of other people to get yourself in the rental of your dreams. It’s definitely a competitive rental market out there with many choosing to rent instead of buy, so it’s essential that you’re always prepared with a deposit check, application fee, and any other documentation the landlord has asked for. Other commonly requested items include old pay stubs, tax returns, reference letters from old landlords, or a letter of employment outlining how long you’ve been with your current company and your salary information to prove you can afford the apartment. Securing an apartment is definitely a case of timing, because if you really want a place, you can bet there are others out there that really want it too.
Be Careful With Your Sensitive Information
As you look at different apartments, you may find yourself submitting multiple applications, and landlords will require access to sensitive information like your social security number. Identity theft is a real concern, and handing out your information to strangers can make you vulnerable to a host of problems. If possible, ask your prospective landlord to use a certified screening service like Transunion Smartmove. It will give them all the information they need, like your credit score and criminal and eviction histories, and keep your information safe at the same time.