How To Rent Your First Apartment
By Miriam Caldwell. Money in Your 20s Expert
Miriam Caldwell is a freelance writer with a specialty in personal finance. She believes that you can lay a solid foundation by starting to manage your finances in your twenties.
Once you start your first real job, you will be looking for a new place to live. YOu need to know how to rent your first apartment. This is an exciting time, and you may be considering getting your own place. This allows you greater freedom and flexibility. Before you make this decision you need to make sure you carefully consider how much you really can afford.
Here s How:
Before you go out to begin looking for your first apartment, you should determine how much rent you can comfortably pay. Generally, your rent should be about twenty five percent of your income. You may be approved for up to thirty percent of your income. However, you need to consider your other expenses and debt payments. You should be able to cover most of your daily living expenses (groceries, utilities, eating out and entertainment) on about twenty five percent of your income. Take time to look at your budget. before you start looking for your apartment. You should be focusing a lot of getting out of debt and saving money .
After you have determined the general prices and what you can afford, you should decide whether or not you need a roommate. You need to take into consideration that you will be paying for all of the utilities yourself. These may cost more than you realize. You should also determine the size of the place that you need. Generally, your first apartment is rather small.
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Once you have decided on one or two areas that you want to live in you should look online as well as in the newspaper. You may be surprised at the deals that you can find in the newspaper. Landlords with smaller properties often only advertise in the paper. You may also want to call a few property management companies to find out what they have available.
Choose up to five properties to look at. If you do more than this all at once, you will be exhausted and the properties start to blur together. You may want to take pictures of the exterior and interior, so that you can remember the apartments. You should also consider safety, if you are going to be living alone. A second story apartment is safer than one on the first story. You may also want to look for a gated community, depending on where you are living.
Although you may feel pressured to make an immediate choice, generally you should be okay thinking about it for twenty-four hours. You should go with your general feelings about the place when you make a decision. If you simply choose the cheapest, but felt that it was too rundown or unsafe, then you are not making a wise decision. You should feel good about both the price and the apartment.
Finally, you will need to fill out the application, and pay the application fee. Some apartments may require a co-signer if you are just starting your first job. They may waive this for a larger deposit. Generally you will pay your deposit, along with your first and last month’s rent when you sign your lease. This usually happens on the day that you move into the apartment.
Don’t forget to consider the amenities offered by the apartment community. The more amenities, generally means you will pay higher rent. However, if you find a good deal, you may end up saving money if you were to purchase cable, a gym membership, and a phone line.
You may also want to ask about the terms for breaking the lease. Many apartment communities will allow you to buy out the lease with two months rent and the forfeiture of your deposit. Others will not allow you to do this at all. If you are unsure of the stability of your job or may be transferred, you may opt for one that will allow you to break the lease.
You can take the steps to lower the amount you pay for utilities. Simple steps like lowering your thermostat in the winter can save you a lot over time.