Are you looking to rent an apartment for the first time in your life? This is an exciting time! Now that you’ve decided to take that next step in life, it’s time to set yourself up with the right situation.
One of the most overwhelming parts of renting an apartment can be the process to set it up. You might have several questions. What do you need to rent an apartment for the first time? How can you find the right match?
Here are several things that you need to find an apartment that you will be happy with.
1. A Budget
Before you go online and start looking for apartments with 3 beds, 2 baths, and a jacuzzi tub, you need to set a realistic budget. The budget will help you filter out several options and focus on the ones that fit your needs, not your desires.
More importantly, it will prevent you from signing a lease on an apartment that you can’t afford. Too many first-time renters purchase one that’s too expensive and find themselves strapped for cash because of it.
The budget will put everything into perspective. Are those black amenities and kitchen backsplashes really worth the extra $100 a month on rent? Probably not.
2. Simple Math
You’ll also want to perform some simple math on things that come “included” with the apartment. For example, you might find an apartment that has WiFi and valet trash “included” in the rent.
Don’t kid yourself… the complex isn’t doing you a service, they’re just adding it into the cost of your monthly rent. You might find a similar apartment that doesn’t “include” WiFi and valet trash but is $150 less each month and has the same amount of rooms.
Do the math. Typically standard WiFi only costs $50 to $80 a month and, as nice as valet trash is, you can take the trash out yourself. You might save $100 by choosing the apartment that costs less and paying for the WiFi yourself.
3. Proof of Income
To rent an apartment, there are two things that you’ll need to prove. First is that you are who you say you are. Second is that you can afford the place you’re applying for.
The first one can be proven by merely showing them your driver’s license. The second one will require a little more proof. They’ll most likely run a credit check to see if you have any additional debt as well as whether you’re actively repaying those debts.
Having debt won’t scare them away from letting you rent, but not having a good history of repaying your debts might. Since you don’t have a rental history to fall back on, your debt repayment is very important.
The complex will also request that you show valid proof of income, which can be provided through a pay stub. For those of you in a freelance type of career, you won’t have a pay stub from an employer to show them.
For those instances, you might consider using a fake pay stub template to show what payments you’ve received and the total annual amount that you make.
4. An In-Person Tour
Don’t ever sign the dotted line on a unit that you haven’t seen in person. By doing so, you’d be agreeing to liability over a property you’ve never even stepped foot into.
Also, don’t mistake a tour of one of their show properties as an equal to touring the specific unit you’re about to rent. Those showrooms are dolled-up with beautiful lighting, home decor, and the top-tiered amenities of the complex.
In short: unless you’re paying top-dollar, you aren’t getting an apartment that’s anywhere near the same quality. For example, if the showroom has wood flooring, you might assume the unit you’re getting has it as well.
Then you find out that only the units on the first floor have wood floors. If your unit is on any other floor, it won’t have it. Therefore, you’ve paid for an amenity that you don’t even get access to.
Touring the actual unit will help you manage your expectations. It will give you confidence when you sign the dotted line on the least, and that’s worth every penny!
5. Proximity and Lifestyle
Too many first-time apartment renters make the mistake of renting an apartment without considering other aspects of the location. Consider where you spend the bulk of your time (school, work, etc.).
It’s vitally important that you rent an apartment that’s in close proximity to where you spend most of your time. Not doing so can lead to spending a good amount of your paycheck on gas (on top of the new monthly rent you’ll be paying).
You’ll also want to consider the neighborhood or community that the apartment complex is around. Is it a safe neighborhood? Do the complexes around it look safe and well-maintained? If not, you might feel unsafe stepping foot outside your new home.
Also, find a complex that’s near some fun local restaurants and places to visit. It will help you get outside of your unit to hang out with friends.
What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment for the First Time?
Now that you’ve seen the answer to your question of “what do you need to rent an apartment for the first time?”, it’s time to get going!
Be sure to check your local listings and filter out the options as you go. Take note of your ideal number of rooms, number of bathrooms, amenities, etc.
Also, make sure to browse our website for more articles on apartment renting, as well as many other helpful topics!