What To Know When Renting Your First Apartment

Leaving the proverbial nest can be exciting and scary at the same time. Finding and renting an apartment is one of the first things you need to do when you strike out on your own, and the process can be a bit overwhelming. As with anything, preparing yourself beforehand can make things easier. As such, we’ve put together this short guide designed to help you prepare to rent your first apartment. 

Figure Out How Much You Can Afford To Spend

It’s highly likely that you’ll be living on a tight budget when you move out of your parents’ house. You must plan accordingly, so you don’t end up living outside your means. Remember, you’ll be paying for more than just rent each month. Living on your own means you’ll also pay things like utilities, food, insurance, gas, etc. 

Most experts agree that you shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your gross income on housing each month. 

How Much Space Do You Need?

Once you’ve figured out how much you can spend each month, the next step is to determine how much space you need. Usually, the less space the rental has, the cheaper it will be for rent, utilities, and furnishings. 

If you’re planning to live alone, can you get by with a studio apartment? Maybe you’ll have a roommate to split the costs, in which case, you’ll need two bedrooms. 

Think About Where You Want To Live

Location is key in deciding where you want to live when you rent your first apartment. Proximity to your job is key because you may be able to walk to work if the apartment is close enough. If you have to drive, the commute may be an added expense you need to budget for. 

Safety is another concern. How well is the rental lit at night Is the parking close by that you won’t have to walk far in the dark? What is the crime rate like in the area?

Lastly, how convenient are nearby amenities like entertainment, grocery stores, etc.? This may not seem like a big deal until you have to drive several miles to get anywhere. 

The Rental Application

Most landlords require potential tenants to fill out a rental application. The information and documentation you provide here will help the landlord determine whether you’d be a good tenant or not. You’ll need to supply your employment information as well as your social security number so he can check your credit. In general, the higher the monthly rent, the higher your credit score will need to be. 

Next Steps

If the application process goes well, the landlord will have you sign a lease and pay a security deposit for the rental unit. The lease is a legal document that explains everything that’s required of you and what the rules are for living in the rental unit. If you have any questions as to whether you can do something or not, the answer is likely in your lease. 

The security deposit is a fee that the landlord holds onto as a guarantee of sorts. If any damage occurs while you live in the rental, the landlord will use the security deposit to repair it when you move out. If you’ve taken good care of the place and nothing has happened except for normal wear and tear, the landlord will return the security deposit to you when you vacate the premises.