It’s a big day, one that you’ve been waiting for, for many years. You’ve been patient, and followed the rules to the “T”, even when you didn’t want to, biding your time. Now, it’s finally here, and you couldn’t be more excited. You’re finally ready to move out of your parents’ house, and get your own place!
This is an exciting moment in every young adult’s life. The day that you finally start to gain some independence for yourself can have you bursting with anticipation, leaving you eager to get out, and see what you can do, now that you can make your own rules. When it comes time to find your first apartment, you’ll know doubt be eager to see what’s out there, just waiting for you.
If you’re at this stage in your life, I’m very happy for you! It was a great time for me too! But still, slow down just a minute. Finding an apartment, even if you’re just renting, can be a little tricky. There’s quite a bit you have to think about before you sign a lease, and many first time renters make a lot of mistakes due to a lack of experience. I don’t want the excitement you’re feeling now to be soiled by a bad deal, so to help you find that perfect pad that you’re dreaming of, here are three key things you need to look at when you shop for an apartment.
Location, Location, Location
It’s cliche, I know, but it’s true. When you look for an apartment, you need to start by looking at the area where you want to live. Normally, most people try to find the place closest to where they work, or go to school. That’s not a bad approach, but those aren’t the only considerations you should take into account.
Look at what amenities, including grocery, clothing, and entertainment stores are near the apartment you’re considering. It may not seem like a big deal now, but if you’re adding an extra hour of driving onto your day, before you can even begin shopping, it’ll drain both your stamina, and your gas tank, very quickly.
Also take a look at the crime rates in neighborhood you’re considering, and if you have children, look at the reviews and ratings for the schools near your home.
This seems like a no brainer, but when I say apartment cost, I’m not just talking about the monthly rent listed. When you first sign up for an apartment, there are usually a host of surprise, or in some cases, hidden fees and expenses that pop up. Most rentals will charge you to process your application, require that you pay a security deposit of at least a month’s rent, and may charge you for things like having more than one vehicle, or pets. Many first time renters don’t know to ask about these charges, and only find out after signing their lease that they’re paying way more than they expected.
Cost can also be measured in what you’ll have to pay for yourself, once you’ve moved in. Ask if your lease agree covers maintenance, and what, if anything, you’ll have to repair and pay for yourself. You may also be required to purchase renters insurance to be able to occupy the property. You can even factor in the cost of gas, if the apartment’s location will mean a long commute to work or school. Take your time when comparing costs, and take advantage of the resources available for finding an affordable place to live.
Rules and Restrictions
Remember the bit I mentioned earlier, about finally getting out on your own, and making your own rules? Yeah…you still can, but maybe not as much as you thought. Most rental apartments have very strict terms governing what you can and cannot do with the property while you live there. Some dictate that you can’t smoke indoors, others don’t allow pets, and some specify that you can’t alter the property in any way (a garden, change the wall color, hang pictures, etc.) without the landlord’s written consent.
This can be a real drag when you’re trying to find a place that allows you to express yourself, and implement a “my house, my rules” lifestyle. So when you’re shopping, ask for a copy of the tenant’s rental agreement, and make sure that you can live with the restrictions that you’ll have to comply with.