Congratulations on deciding to get your first apartment! This is a very exciting and crucial time of your adult life. With such a decision comes big responsibility.
There are six crucial things you need to do before getting your first apartment. This post will share these first apartment tips to make sure you’re ready for your big move!
1. Create a budget
Before you add another significant expense to your budget, you need to be sure that you can afford it.
While it may be wise to figure out where you can cut back on your current spending to get a nicer apartment, make sure you’re not setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
Take a look at your current budget and decide on how much you’re willing to shell out on rent every month. Keep in mind that you will have additional expenses associated with the apartment like utilities, so factor all of these costs into your budget.
This brings me to my next point.
2. Consider the additional costs
Getting your first apartment may include lots of other expenses that you may not have thought about.
This includes things like utility payments and renters insurance.
Additionally, there are also a lot of one time costs that most people tend to forget about when thinking about getting their first apartment.
This includes things like buying furniture, paying installation/set up fees for that furniture plus electronics, the security deposit, application fees, and more.
When you decide to get your first apartment, come up with a savings plan a few months in advance to better be prepared for these unplanned expenses.
3. Decide on your amenities before you start looking
Before you start apartment hunting, you need to make a list of all of your ‘must-haves’ or ‘non-negotiables’ for your first apartment. These are any amenities that you’re not willing to compromise on.
Then make a list of amenities that you want but could live without.
Making this list beforehand helps you weed out apartments that don’t meet your needs so you can be more efficient with your time.
4. Do your due diligence
Research, research, research!
I’ve heard tons of horror stories about people who didn’t look into their first apartment and got stuck in a lease for horrible apartments!
You should also drive around the neighborhood outside of business hours for any apartments you’re considering. You may be surprised what goes on in the area at night or may find other issues about the apartment.
5. Pay attention when touring
Pay attention to every detail when touring potential apartments! You want to make sure you’re aware of exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Take pictures and videos of the apartment so you remember what it looks like when deliberating later. These pictures should also include any minor or major flaws in the apartment including any surface scratches, areas that need to be cleaned, and more.
You should also keep a notebook or notepad to take notes of any problems that can’t be photographed such as weird smells or other issues.
Lastly, ask the current tenants about their experience living there. There’s no better way to find out what it’s actually like living somewhere than from the people who currently live there!
6. Read the lease
This is the last and most important part of this process! It may seem obvious but lots of people tend to skip over some parts of their lease before they sign.
You should always read your lease completely to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Don’t sign for a 6 month or even a 1-year lease without knowing what you’re getting into.
You should look out for important things like the consequences of breaking the lease, parking and visitor policies, etc.
Your lease is a legally binding document so make sure you understand it before you sign it! Be sure also to make a note of anything you don’t understand or questions that you have to ask your agent before signing.
For more help, check out these renting basics for first-time renters.
You’ll soon have your freedom and be able to do whatever you want to do and not have to answer to anyone when you get your first apartment. In the meantime, use these important first apartment tips to get you there!