Finding the right apartment rentals is not really difficult if you know the right process to do it. Here is an easy-to-follow checklist that will ensure you find new digs that are right for you, with a smooth transaction and no surprises.
1. Determine Affordability
This should not be an arbitrary number, but rather a percentage of your monthly income. Most experts say to keep your monthly rental obligations to less than 25 percent of your income. So, if your income is $3,000 a month, an affordable apartment for you would be $750 or less.
2. Lower Rental Costs
Look for ways to lower your rental costs. Do you really need three bedrooms, or would two be enough? Can you get by with an apartment home with only a single bathroom or living in a complex without a swimming pool? Location affects rental costs significantly as well, so keeping your options open in this regard will help.
3. Add Renters Insurance
No matter which apartment rentals you consider, rental insurance should not be optional. It will protect your belongings inside of your apartment home in the event of fire, theft or even a natural disaster.
4. Run a Credit Check
Keeping an eye on your credit and knowing where you stand is important when you are looking for a new apartment rental. Nearly every landlord you encounter will start the process by checking your credit; after all, they don’t know you, and it gives them some insight into how you handle your business. Make sure the impression they get is favorable by clearing up any credit glitches and paying down revolving credit to raise your score as high as you can. The bonus of clean credit is that your security deposit will be lower.
5. Start Hunting
Now that you have an idea of what you can afford, what you want and what your credit looks like, you can start searching for apartments in your preferred areas.
6. Gather Your Down Payment
Of course, the process of renting an apartment will require a down payment in the form of your first monthly payment, any fees and possibly a security deposit. Start gathering your funds so that you are ready to pull the trigger when you find the apartment home that is perfect for you.
7. Prepare Documentation
Filling out a rental application completely is helpful toward quickly being approved for the apartment complex. Additionally, providing copies of pay stubs or references can help to hasten the process and get you moved in more quickly.
8. Talk to Tenants
An important step that a lot of people neglect is talking to tenants of the complex where you are considering moving. Find out what they like and don’t, if there are any management issues, or if there are extreme problems with tenants. Overall, see if you feel like you would be a good fit in this apartment neighborhood.
9. Do a Walk-Through
Another crucial step that is often forgotten is doing a walk-through of the apartment you plan to rent. Were you promised new carpet and that they’d paint over the ugly purple walls? Make sure it is in good shape and any promises were handled appropriately before you sign any papers.
10. Read Over and Sign the Lease
Now that you are ready to sign the lease, take the time to read through it and understand the rules and provisions you are agreeing to. Ask questions and clarify anything you don’t understand. Finally, don’t hesitate to walk away if there is anything involved that you just cannot live with.