In the U.S., 44.1 million families are renters, so if you’re considering apartment living, you’re in good company. Renting an apartment helps you save money, better prepare for home ownership, learn more about a new city, and live maintenance free. Tips for renters can help you make the most of your experience, from apartment hunting to making yourself at home.
Check out these tips for tenants on how to find an apartment and make it your own.
1. Set Your Budget
Before you start apartment hunting, set your budget to find a rental that you can afford. A recommended maximum is spending no more than 30% of your net income on rent. If you’re looking with a roommate, your portion of the rent should stay below that amount.
Apartment living is much more relaxing when you can comfortably afford the rent. It might feel good initially to live in a nicer apartment than you can afford, but it quickly becomes stressful if you struggle to pay rent each month or have to sacrifice other areas of your budget.
2. Narrow Your Search
Research areas you’re considering before you start apartment hunting to ensure it fits your needs. Consider proximity to work and other places you go often. Look at crime rates and general safety of the area.
Amenities within the apartment also help narrow your search. Determine how much space you need and any extras you want, such as in-unit laundry or dedicated parking spots.
3. Review the Lease
When living in an apartment, you’ll have to sign a lease agreeing to the terms set by the property. It covers things such as the lease term, late fees, pet restrictions, and rules of tenancy. The property might limit smoking, pets, businesses being run from apartments, or what kinds of things you can do to your apartment.
It’s tempting to just sign the lease without reading, but you need to know what you’re agreeing to. If you sign it without reading it, your landlord can still hold you to whatever it says in the lease. You’ll avoid breaking rules or having problems in the future if you know what you’re signing.
4. Make It Feel Like Home
Decorating your apartment makes the renting experience positive. You have to get creative since you can’t paint walls or make major modifications. Some rentals might not let you use nails or similar fasteners.
Focus on non-damaging ways to decorate, such as a big area rug to brighten your living room. Instead of hanging artwork, you can lean it against the wall on a fireplace mantel or table. Throw pillows, bright table coverings, and decorations on freestanding shelves are other ways to add personality and style to your rental.
5. Take Care of the Property
Apartment living means you don’t have to do maintenance, but you do need to care for your apartment. Treat it as if you own it to keep everything in good condition by cleaning regularly and avoiding damaging actions. This not only shows respect to the actual owners, but it keeps your home looking nice and helps you get your security deposit back when you move.
Follow These Tips for Renters
With our tips for renters, you can enjoy the experience of being a tenant. Finding what works for you, being respectful of the property, and making your space your own can help.
Check out more useful tips in our lifestyle archives.
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