Though moving to a new apartment can be very exciting, finding a good one to rent could be a daunting task. There are things you should consider before the big step, so here are some things to look out for to make sure you’re prepared before you sign your name.
Set a budget.
Consider how much you can afford to pay and follow the “rule” not to exceed 30-percent of your monthly income. Focus your search according to your budget and though you may be forced to compromise when finding a bigger apartment in a better area, make sure it’s worth spending the extra money. If you’re looking for a cheaper place to rent, try roommate services to share an apartment, but make sure you know what types of people or habits you’d prefer to avoid.
Read and re-read your contract
A common mistake we usually make is not to read a contract before we sign. Obtain a copy of any rules and regulations, make sure you go through everything and before you sign the lease, check to see if these are mentioned:
- The beginning and the expiration date
- The rental price and information about your security deposit
- What are the reasons for which your landlord can terminate your lease contract
- Are there any penalties for moving out of your apartment before the expiration date?
- Are there any responsibilities on your head for repairs and such?
- Is subletting allowed ?
- See if you have to buy renters insurance, because it will increase you total cost
- Is there a policy about guest visitors?
What to look for
You like the price, the area is great, but you need to see where you’re going to live. Here are a few things to take a closer look at:
- Pipes – be it gas, water or anything else, check for leaks.
- Sink faucets, shower heads and water – make sure water (both cold and hot) really comes out of the faucets and the shower head and it’s with a decent pressure. Also the toilet has to flush properly and thoroughly.
- Electricity and appliances should all be working. Check if all the lights or other electric devices are operational. Also check the air conditioner and the heater to see if they’re good for anything.
- Walls and windows. Check the windows to see if they open, close and lock properly. Also inspect the walls. The more walls in common (shared with adjoining apartments), the greater the chance of noise from next door.
- Noise. For a student, outside noise may be extremely disturbing and may interfere with learning. If it’s a highly trafficked area you may have problems concentrating and even sleeping.
Negotiate your lease
If everything went smooth, you like the apartment and the landlord likes you, it’s worth trying to negotiate a little bit.
Know your landlord
It’s very important to know some basic information about the landlord. If it’s a management company with thousands of apartments for rent it may be harder to negotiate, but if it’s a family and they just need to secure the income each month, you have a green light to close the deal with a small discount.