If you’re planning to rent an apartment, it can be a good idea to create a checklist of points to make sure you don’t regret your decision in the future.
- Set Your Budget… And Stick To It
First thing’s first, decide how much money you can afford to spend on rent. This helps you narrow your search down to locations that fit into your budget and lifestyle. If you’re looking to lower your rental costs, you may want to consider sharing the apartment with others. Remember apartments at similar prices, may have very dissimilar features. Be sure to read up on how to compare the cost of apartments.
- Decide The Layout That Works Best For You
You’ll also need to decide the layout that suits your lifestyle best. Do you want multiple bedrooms and bathrooms? Do you want a large living and dining area for entertaining? Do you want extra storage in the apartment?
- Research Neighborhoods
Decide on the geographic area you want to live in, and do research on the neighborhoods that lie within that area. Consider the following criteria when making your final decision: proximity to your place of employment, schools, shopping centers, highways, gyms, friends/family and other places that are important for your lifestyle.
- Compare Apartments
- Find Out What Comes With The Apartment And What Doesn’t
Some apartments come with some in-built appliances and furniture. Determine what appliances are a “must have”, and what which appliances you may prefer, but are willing to do without if the apartment meets most of your other needs. For example, are you okay with not having a private washer and dryer? Do you have your own microwave oven? Are you really into cooking, and have to have a gas oven versus an electric oven? Some apartments may be fully furnished, so you only need to bring your clothes over, others may be semi-furnished or completely unfurnished, which means you’ll have to bring your own stuff over. Find out this ahead of time so you are better prepared.
- Make sure the Apartment meets your needs
Double check the apartment meets your needs. For example, does it have enough space? Does it allow pets (if you have a pet)? Does it have enough parking? Is the apartment near public transportation (train stops, bus stops)? Is it easy to get to major highways? Even if you don’t have a car now, it may be a good thing to have parking available in case you decide to purchase a car in the near future.
- Find Out About All Final Costs and Major Responsibilities
Confirm you understand all the costs and other major responsibilities. In addition to rent, what else are you obligated to pay for, how much, and how often? What is the security deposit? When are all payments due? Other than financial obligations, find out major obligations such as how much notice do you have to give should you not renew your lease? What is the penalty for a breach of lease? What are the noise regulations? Parking regulations? Consider these Apartment Safety Questions and other questions to ask before signing.
- Read The Lease
Now that you understand the big questions and the apartment meets your needs, get the lease and make sure you read the lease thoroughly before signing any agreement. Does it have all the information you agreed to with the landlord? Are there any hidden costs and clauses? Who is responsible for repairs? A lease is legally binding so make sure you understand everything.
- Inspect The Apartment For Any Issues
Before moving in, inspect the apartment thoroughly. Are there any underlying repair or maintenance issues that need immediate fixes? Are there any pest issues that need the attention of the leasing agent? Is the apartment clean? Are there any unusual odors? Does the apartment come with a dead bolt security lock? Was the apartment lock changed between residents? Has the apartment been redecorated (painted and prepared)? Is the flooring damaged or in need of repair? Are there other damages or stains? If so, make sure to put them in writing and bring them to the attention of the leasing agent. Do all the power outlets work? Do all the lights have bulbs? Is there a smoke alarm? Find out how often it is checked? When was the last time the heating and air conditioning filter was changed? How often does management change the filters? Is there significant damage to the walls or ceilings?
- Move In
Great, now that the hard stuff is out of the way, you are ready to move in. Ask about the move in process, arrange movers or do-it-yourself and enjoy.
Searching for apartments to rent can be daunting but use this guide to start and hopefully make the whole process heaps easier.