Moving out of the family home into your own space is a big milestone in life. You are about to experience true independence, including all the freedom and responsibility that goes with it. Of course, it is natural to feel a bit of apprehension or nervousness about what lies ahead, and it is highly likely that you are going to come face to face with a few steep learning curves. However, with some careful planning and a bit of time, you will be on your feet in your own apartment in no time at all. If you are about to move into your own apartment, here are 6 tips that first-time renters should keep in mind.
1. Visit The Apartment Before Signing On
Virtual apartment tours can be useful when narrowing down your search, but you should not agree to any lease if you have not visited the apartment in person. Only then will you see the neighborhood, people living nearby, amenities, building services, and get a real sense of the space.
2. Check Whether Utilities Are Included
In some cases, all your utilities will be wrapped up with the rent in one payment which is much easier to budget for. However, if they are not included, be sure to clarify what bills you will need to cover, whether it is a fixed payment or based on usage, and how to set up your accounts.
3. Ask About The Application Process
You will usually need to apply for an apartment which typically involves completing an application form, paying an application fee, and submitting to a credit check. Nowadays the process can be completed in a matter of hours (or even minutes). Some first-time renters may need a guarantor to act as additional security. They agree that if you cannot afford your rent, they will pay it on your behalf.
4. Read Every Part Of Your Lease
Before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to read every part of your lease including the fine print. You should never let yourself be rushed into a lease as you need time to ensure that you understand exactly what you are agreeing to and to raise any concerns you might have. Your lease will document what maintenance is expected of you and what your landlord will take care of, when the rent is due, any late fees, if pets are allowed, and more.
5. Take Out Renter’s Insurance
While you do not need to insure the property that you are renting (that’s the owner’s responsibility), you do need to take our renter’s insurance. This will give you peace of mind and protection that should your belongings get stolen or damaged (e.g., by fire, water leaks or flooding). Your policy should cover personal liability, property coverage and temporary housing, but an insurance agency will be able to help you work out what you need.
6. Do A Walkthrough With The Property Manager
When you have got the apartment and are about to move in, you should do a walkthrough of the apartment with your property manager or landlord. This is your opportunity to raise any concerns you might have and to highlight any damage that already exists such as marks on the walls, carpets, ceilings, broken tiles in the bathroom or similar.
Your property manager should create a list of items that need repairing before you move in and any damages, so that (if they are not repaired) you will not be held responsible fat the end of your lease. This prevents any misunderstandings or disagreements and should ensure you get your security deposit back (as long as you have not caused any additional damage).