We all need a place to live, and buying your first home is quite a big step to make, a bit too big for some, especially in this competitive housing market.
However, renting is always an option, and there are probably thousands of rentals in your area that you can examine and take into account.
This process can be incredibly taxing and stressful for someone who’s just starting out, especially if you went into the market unprepared, which is exactly why this article was written.
We’ll go over some of the must-know tips you may need on your apartment search and guide you through the process every step of the way.
By reading carefully you’ll learn some of the best ways to find a rental that fits your budget while also meeting all your needs at the same time.
The first thing to look out for is exactly how much money you’ll be working with when it comes to paying rent, and you may want to include other expenses like utilities and parking fees into this budget.
When budgeting, there are two rules that you can employ, both of which have been proven to be successful, one being the 30% rule, whereas the other is the 50/30/20 rule.
Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’ll be up to you to decide which one works best for you.
By employing the 30% rule, you limit yourself to rentals that will only cost you 30% of your total monthly income to maintain, although, in the current market, this is considered to be an outdated budgeting model.
Instead, you could also choose to go for the 50/30/20 model, which allows you to spend up to 50% of your income on various monthly expenses, 30% on other expenses, and your own needs, with the final 20% going into a savings account.
At times, even this won’t be enough, as some landlords will require you to make at least 3 times the average rent price in the area.
Work on a renter profile
Searching for a home that suits all your needs and wants can be costly with all the application fees and credit checks that landlords usually ask for.
If you want to avoid going through all this trouble, then you may want to create a renter profile, where you’ll include all the information a landlord may ask for on rental applications and screening reports.
This lowers the number of expenses you’ll have from dozens to only one, and the best part of it all is that it’s fairly easy to make use of.
When you do create an account on the Avail Renter website, you’ll be asked to include your residence, work, and income history as well as some standard application question answers.
If you wish to include them, you can also add a credit history check, several background checks, and even an eviction report, all for a single, one-time fee.
Once this is done, all you’ve got to do is forward the link to your profile to your landlord, although they’re not required to accept these profiles as valid information in every state.
Be sure to check your state’s laws regarding renting before choosing to commit to a profile like this.
In-person property tours
While technological advancements have allowed us to have full, scaled 3D model tours of homes on rental websites, traditional apartment hunting is still as important as it ever was.
An in-person property showing is the only real way to see exactly how the apartment looks, and more importantly, how it feels, allowing you access to some better judgment regarding whether you’d wish to commit or not.
This also lets you explore the neighborhood it’s in, rather than just the apartment itself, which is an important part of becoming a renter.
On top of this, meeting with the landlord in person gives you the opportunity to ask questions that they may not have answered in the property’s description, such as if there are any rules for decorating the place, the presence of application fees, and so on.
Most landlords will require you to provide proof of your renter’s insurance before going through with the application process, as it’s what will protect your belongings in the case of them being stolen or destroyed.
The standard policy for this insurance defines exactly what falls under it and what events will result in you receiving coverage for your stolen or damaged items.
You may also want to get pet insurance if you’ve got one, as it offers an additional layer of protection in the lease period.
Do note that some landlords don’t allow pets on their property, and while it’s usually stated in the property description, it’s best to check with the landlord just in case they’ve forgotten to add it.
Take lots of pictures of the apartment
Before you actually move in, it’s recommended to take pictures of each room on the property, and it’s ideal if you take them the moment you’re handed the keys to the rental.
This way you’ll have conclusive evidence of how the place looked when you moved in, and if there were any issues with the apartment’s flooring, walls, etc. you’ll be able to prove you haven’t caused it.
One more benefit to this strategy is being able to compare rentals before choosing which one to go for, as you’ll ideally want to move into the one with the least damage.
By doing this, you save yourself a lot of the effort of doing repairs on your own while also saving yourself hundreds of dollars in expenses that you’d be facing if you moved into a sub-optimal rental
Renting in today’s market is incredibly difficult, and with everyone fighting over affordable living arrangements, it’s hard to find the right one for you and your family.
However, it doesn’t have to be that hard, and if you employ only some of the strategies on this list, you’ll make the journey to your first home much easier on yourself.
Make use of the tools at your disposal and do everything in your power to choose the right thing, and if you do, the rental may serve as a comfortable living space for years to come.