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The Insider’s Guide to Renting Your First Apartment

Published on June 22, 2017 by rae steinbach

Moving into a new place can seem daunting for anyone. If you’re renting your first apartment, the entire process is all the more difficult and foreign. For first-time apartment renters, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before moving into your new home. Pre-planning and utilizing helpful resources are key and to making the whole process a breeze.

Rent Isn’t The Only Fee That You’ll Pay

Don’t be alarmed to discover that you’ll be paying more than just the rent of your first apartment: Most landlords require upfront fees that include application fees (on average around $150) and a security deposit that usually amounts to one month’s rent. Once your lease is over, however, you’ll get your security deposit back, as long as the rental is in good working condition.

Another fee sometimes required of you is a broker fee. To avoid rental agent fees, look for apartments with no fee. These may either mean you’re searching alone, or the broker’s fee is covered by the landlord or renting agency. Sometimes the fee is worth it, especially for first-time renters, so do your research on working with agents ahead of time to decide which solution is best for you.

Apart from the upfront fees and the rent, you’ll have to spend money on other more long-term things in your apartment, like the utilities and renter’s insurance. Keep these in mind, and budget accordingly.

Need vs. Want: What To Bring To Your First Apartment

Some of us have the temptation to bring everything we own to our new home. However, when renting a first apartment, you need to draw a line between what you want and what you actually need. Remember, you can purchase most items in the city you’re moving to, so factor in moving costs vs. purchasing cost before deciding what to bring.

Go Over The Lease Terms Three Times

Not once, not twice, but thrice! A lease is a legal document between the tenant and the landlord that enlists the terms and conditions of living in that particular apartment. When renting their very first apartment, some tenants might be careless and forget to go over the lease terms. If you’re not entirely sure how the legal document works, or if the legal jargon confuses you, you can always ask a more experienced renter or agent to help you understand the lease terms.

Choose The Right Roommates

If you’re planning to share your first apartment with someone, make sure they sign the lease, too. If they don’t, and an issue arises later, there’s really nothing you can legally do to hold them accountable.

Make Sure You’re In The Right Location

Before finalizing your first apartment, it is critical to assess the location or neighborhood you’re buying the apartment in. Some healthy research about the neighborhood’s reputation and crime rate, as well as utility stores and restaurants nearby can help you make a smart choice.

Renting your first apartment is a milestone for many people, and using the right rental agency to help you find it makes the process easier and faster. When it’s your first time renting, it’s important to enlist help that can fill in the knowledge gaps and provide you with the perfect first home.

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