Renting an apartment for the first time can be overwhelming. From filling out applications to knowing budgets and financial history, a lot goes into a rental decision. We are here to help with 7 things all first time renters need to know. These are the kind of tips that can save you time, but in the end they can also save you money and a whole lot of headaches!
7 Things All First Time Renters Need to Know:
Finances are tough. Being financially secure takes years to master. But once you get the hang of it, the future is bright. Part of being financially secure has to do with your living situation and a lot to do with your choices. These tips will help you understand the financial and long term aspects of renting and rental agreements.
Eviction Hurts for a Long Time
One of the big issues, especially among young renters, is rental agreements that end with eviction. All first time renters need to understand that eviction can hurt you and your credit, as well as your future for a long time. Potentially for 7+ years, eviction can make it hard to find a new job, a new apartment, and it can even hurt you when eventually applying for mortgages or loans. Make sure you understand the consequences of eviction before you sign a rental agreement.
Early is Great but On Time is Best
First time renters usually go one of two ways, eager at first to make a good impression they pay rent early, or they immediately end up paying late. You definitely don’t want to be part of the group that is paying late, and you don’t necessarily need to be part of the group paying early. Pay you rent in full, on time, and you will be all set!
Understand Your Lease
A lease is a legally binding agreement. When you sign it, that means you agree with everything written in the lease and you agree that you will do, say, act, however the lease demands. If you do not understand every part of a lease ask for clarification BEFORE you sign! If you don’t feel you can trust the person who is asking you to sign the lease, ask for a few days to have someone else look it over. Find a trusted confidant to explain it or seek legal counsel. In any case, you need to be sure you understand all parts of a lease before you sign.
Roommates Can Be Tough
A roommate always seems like a great idea until they stop paying their part of the rent. If you need or want to live with a roommate make sure they are legally obligated with a lease of their own, to pay their portion of the rent. You want to have a roommate agreement of some kind to make sure that things run smoothly, long term. Make sure you are familiar and comfortable with your roommates and all of their quirks, pets, and furniture before you decide to move in together. It is a lot harder to get out of a lease than you might think, and being miserable everyday is not good for anyone!
First time renters often overlook the idea of renters insurance. In the long-term, this small monthly or yearly payment can end up saving you thousands of dollars. It’s never a bad idea to be protected in case disaster strikes. Often times first time renters think this is an added expense that they just don’t need but in reality you need insurance to protect your belongings from accident or disaster, theft, etc. It also doesn’t hurt to be building a great relationship with an insurance company that can help cover you in the future for vehicles, homes, and more.
Your Landlord is NOT Your Friend, Maid, or Mother
We don’t suggest you have a poor relationship with your rental company or landlord but it is key to remember that this is a business transaction. You should always be professional and respectful when dealing with your rental company or landlord. This includes following proper channels for needed repairs, inquires, and maintenance, as well as on time payments and notice. Your rental agreement will spell out the consequences for not paying on time, but it will also spell out how you should submit inquires for repairs and maintenance. Another great reason to fully understand your lease agreement before you sign it!
Be Realistic About What You Can Afford
As far as first time renters go, it can be hard to know exactly what you can manage in terms of financial responsibility. Take a few months or even a year to set aside a rental payment each month. You should start preparing for these kinds of commitments early on, and know that you can handle a large payment each month. For many first time renters this is the first time they’ve had such a high payment, all at once, going for just one part of their life. Take some time before signing a lease to get used to that responsibility. The plus side is you’ll have a nice savings account to get you started when you eventually sign!