By the age of 27, about 90% of adults move out of their parent’s homes. If you’re around this age, you’re likely looking to leave the nest. However, there are a lot of steps between deciding to move out and settling into your new place.
Keep reading to discover the best advice for first-time apartment renters.
1. Shop Around
Renting your first apartment is exciting, but don’t forget to explore your options. Tour different units and communities to find what is truly right for you before making any firm commitments. Is this really where you want to live for the next year of your life?
Rental prices also vary greatly. Here are the best cities to live in on a budget for first-time apartment renters.
2. Buy Your Essentials Early
Budget for bare essentials for every room in your new apartment before moving in. You don’t want to spend the first week sitting on the floor eating off of paper plates. Here are some essentials to consider before move-in day:
- Dishrags and soap
- A garbage can and bags
- First-aid kit
- Kitchen table and chairs
- Shower curtain
- Toilet paper
- Clothing hangers
- Curtains and rods
If you bring essentials from your previous home (sheets, towels, pillows, blankets, toiletries), pack them in a box and label it “Open First.”
3. Have Multiple Copies of All of the Documents You Need to Apply
The requirements for rental applications may differ slightly depending on where you are applying. Apartment complexes or communities may request more from potential tenants than a private landlord would. Here are some of the documents you should have multiple copies of when applying for rentals units:
- Proof of employment (a letter from your employer)
- Copies of tax documents (W-2s or tax returns)
- Information about your pet(s)
- Professional/personal references (optional)
- A cover letter (if needed)
- Proof of current residency (driver’s license, official ID, passport, etc.)
- Bank statements
The most important thing is proof of income. As a baseline, you’ll need to make three times the cost of the rent. Landlords will require you to prove you make enough money to afford rent every month, as well as the security deposit and renter’s insurance.
The best way to prove your income is with a paystub. If you don’t work a typical job or your employer doesn’t issue them, you can use this check stub maker.
4. Have a Copy of Your Lease
Before signing anything, read your entire lease. Don’t let a landlord or rental manager intimidate or trick you into signing without understanding absolutely everything that’s in it. Ask questions about the terms and conditions.
It’s a legally binding contract, and it’s difficult and costly to break a lease before your term is up. This is one of the most indispensable apartment tips for first-time renters. The lease will contain important information such as:
- How early you must tell the landlord if you plan to move
- What bills you are responsible for
- What bills the landlord is responsible for
- When rent and potential late fees are due
- Whether your lease can be renewed at the end of your term
- Rules and conditions
- If renter’s insurance is required
It’s important to have a copy in case your landlord or rental manager tries to neglect responsibilities or if you aren’t sure about your duties as a tenant.
Our Tips for First-Time Apartment Renters
The process of renting your first “grown-up” apartment is as exciting as it is intimidating. Remember to shop around for the best price and get your essentials early. Have important documents like pay stubs and a copy of the lease on hand.
If you like these tips for first-time apartment renters, check out the rest of our site for more informative content.
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