There are so many things to think about when choosing your first apartment, and oftentimes, it can be hard to make a final decision. There are so many options available, which is actually good because you have more freedom. But how do you go about it without losing your mind?
Know what you want and what you need.
Before you set out to go apartment hunting, know exactly what you want and what you need. Number of bedrooms, amenities, square footage – knowing all of these details makes it easier for you to find an apartment that you’ll be happy to have later on. Also, you’ll know which parts you can be flexible with and how this affects your budget.
Know your timing.
In most cases, move-ins are on the first day of the month, but there are times when this is happens halfway through. Remember that May to August is when rentals are busiest, so the best time to start looking for a place is a month earlier. Anyhow, don’t go looking unless you’re all set to make a decision.
Be ready to jump on.
So you’ve found your dream apartment – don’t make it wait. Don’t forget that the market is particularly competitive so dilly-dallying is surely not an option. There are lots of young people just like you who are also scouting for their perfect first apartment. In other words, act quickly. Which also means you should be ready with your photo ID, checkbook, Social Security number, and others that the landlord might need from you.
Have a guarantor.
Typically, a landlord will require a guarantor, also called a co-signer, for potential tenants without a solid financial background, such as when you’ve only begun working or if you don’t have any credit history. Guarantors for recent grads are often parents, who also have to demonstrate enough financial capacity.
Scrutinize the fine print.
Lastly, before making a final decision to rent a certain apartment, ask for a photocopy of the lease agreement so you can read it first before proceeding. Of course, you shouldn’t sign unless every single line – especially the lease riders – is read and understood. You might find add-ons like a cleaning fee after you move out. If you make any spoken agreements with the landlord, get them in writing too. And upon moving in, create a report with photos of prior damage, and give a copy to your landlord. The last thing you want is to pay for damage that has been there before you arrived.