Real Estate

What You Need to Know: Renting Your First Apartment


Finding a post-graduation apartment is an exciting time in life. School is over, and it is time to graduate from that noisy frat house, or the community living of dorm life, into your first real apartment.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get the best deal you can, and to protect yourself from potential pitfalls before you sign the lease.

Determine Your Budget

Before you even look at properties, you need to figure out what your budget is. Take the neighborhoods of Murray Hill New York apartments, for example, and Chelsea apartments – the price range can vary greatly. You can save a lot of disappointment by determining how much you can realistically afford.

Application Process

If you know your credit history is non-existent or a little shady, be upfront before filling out an application. A credit check and employment verification is standard procedure anyway, so by being honest, it saves you the time of filling out an application that is likely to be rejected, and it saves the landlord the expense and hassle of wasting his time. By being truthful, you may find a landlord who is willing to work with you.

Frequently, a non-refundable application fee is required at the time of application. A good faith deposit may also be required. This holds the apartment while the owner runs the background checks. This may also be nonrefundable if you back out, or are denied. Once approved, the security deposit will be expected, which is generally the equivalent of one month’s rent, and is returned, minus damages, when you eventually vacate the premises.

Take a Walk-through

You’ll want to check the place out, of course, but in addition to seeing if the space works for you, pay special attention to any areas of disrepair. Have the landlord either commit to repairing the items, or sign a document acknowledging their existence before you take possession, so you are not unfairly charged at a later date.

Purchase Renters Insurance

Renters insurance is paramount to your peace of mind, and it is extremely affordable. If another tenant accidentally burns the complex down, you will need that money to replace your belongings and secure a new home.

Read the Lease with a Fine-Toothed Comb

It can be easy in your excitement to skim over the “legalease,” but don’t. Read the document thoroughly so you know exactly what is expected of you.

Negotiation is Key

In real estate markets that are tight, some negotiation over the specific terms or even monthly rent may be possible. If you are uncertain of the future, a six month lease may work better for you. Whatever your situation, the time to discuss things is before you sign on the dotted line. Once that is done, it is a done deal. With a little forethought, you can make sure your first apartment is a good experience.

Image Credit: ashleyg

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