When you rent your first apartment, you are excited and eager to move in, claim your space, and get started on a whole new life. But there are mistakes made by first time renters which can have a devastating effect on your bank account and lifestyle.
Here's how to avoid some common mistakes of first time renters:
Calculate all your expenses
It's important to add up all the expenses outside of rent - utilities, fees, cable, and internet. Many buildings also require that you show proof of renters insurance, protecting your contents. These all add up to increased monthly costs outside of rent. Make sure that the rent and all expenses are affordable.
Planning your move in real terms
How is your piano going to get into that fourth floor walkup? Will a large piece of furniture fit around corners in hallways? Think about the logistics of the move when you view an apartment.
Read the rules of the apartment community
You want to make sure that what you expect from living in an apartment community is what can be possible. Are there rules about noise after a certain hour? Maybe you cannot store your grill or using it is against the rules. Maybe your cute puppy will eventually exceed the weight allowance for a dog. Read the rules and make sure the community is the right one for you.
Visit at different times
You may find that the apartment you previewed early in the morning gets too much sun at noon. Or you may find that traffic later in the day is noisy and a problem for you. Check out the parking in the evening. Can you find a space? Also at night, you can see how light or dark the property is.
Don't sign the lease without seeing the apartment
If you pay a deposit before previewing the apartment, you may find that you lose your nonrefundable deposit if you need to back out because the place is too small, or the utility costs are too high. You also want to make sure that the apartment really meets your needs in size, noise, privacy, etc. Check the water pressure, the utilities, run appliances if possible. Make sure that the apartment lives up to your expectations, and that there are no surprised with safety, security, or noise from construction or traffic.