Living in an apartment comes with a lot of benefits. Since it usually has a smaller space compared to a regular home, an apartment lifestyle can be more feasible for your finances. This living arrangement also allows you to enjoy several amenities and a tight-knit community.
Renting an apartment from a rental website can be fun, but this living arrangement also requires responsibility. For one, you need to know how to properly budget your finances to ensure that you can pay your rent on time, and still have enough money to pay for other living expenses. You also have to consider your neighbors and make sure that you maintain healthy relationships with them.
If you’re planning to rent an apartment soon, take note of the following tips for first-time apartment renters:
1. Come Up With A Realistic Budget And Stick To It
Choosing which apartment to rent can be tough. With the massive number of apartments in the local real estate industry today, you’ll likely find countless options, each with its own set of pros and cons. Before you start hunting for options and get overwhelmed during the process, it’s best if you sit down and decide how much you can actually spend for your apartment.
Generally, the cost of your apartment shouldn’t exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. Spending more than this amount is likely to result in debts and can make your life very stressful in the long run. How can you enjoy living in your new apartment if you don’t have any money to pay for the coming months?
If you are on a shoestring budget and can’t afford to rent an apartment on your own, consider getting a roommate. Aside from having someone to share the bills with, having a roommate also allows you to enjoy a companion 24/7.
2. Know How To Spot Rental Scams
Finding your first apartment can become a challenge because, aside from the number of options available, you also have to make sure that you don’t fall prey to any apartment rental scams. Falling for scams that seem too good to be true can make money go down the drain and, in the worst cases, can result in debts.
Here are some of the most common signs of rental scams:
- The landlord is always away: The internet can be a lifesaver when looking for your first apartment. You can just type in your query online and wait until the internet provides you with suggestions. However, when using the internet, be cautious with a landlord who always says that they are on vacation abroad but will ask for a down payment from you. Never pay for an apartment unless you have personally talked with the landlord and inspected the apartment.
- The images online have copyright or watermarks: The pictures of the apartment you can see online will set your standards. High-quality photos of spacious and affordable apartments will surely catch your attention as a renter. When going through the photos of apartments, pay attention if they have any copyright and watermarks. If these are present and come with a different name than the landlord, be cautious. More often than not, the person only copied the image from another source to lure in renters and get money from them.
- Listing doesn’t have any address or images: Price is an important deciding factor when choosing an apartment, but you shouldn’t immediately pay for an apartment just because it’s cheap. This is especially true if the listing online doesn’t come with any pictures or addresses.
3. Location Matters A Lot
One of the most common mistakes first time apartment renters make is to immediately choose an apartment that is cheap or spacious. As mentioned, money is an important deciding factor, but it shouldn’t be your sole consideration – remember that location matters, too.
Renting a cheap apartment that requires you to take three trains or travel for hours before you can arrive at your place of work can be very inconvenient, stressful, and expensive in the long run. The same is also true if the location of your apartment is far from groceries, pharmacies, and hospitals.
Where you live can significantly affect the quality of your life, which is why you should rent an apartment that has access to the services and shops that you often need. If possible, the apartment should be close to public transportation – especially if you don’t have a car – and near your place of work. If you’re going to move with kids, consider the proximity of the apartment to their schools, as well.
Knowledge Is Power
Aside from following the tips in this article, it’s also important that you know what to expect when renting an apartment for the first time. You might experience problems with pests, noisy neighbors, limited parking spaces, secondhand smoke, and lack of light.
Spend some time to properly inspect the apartment you’re eyeing to rent and ask as many questions as possible from the landlord. The more you know about the apartment, the easier it’ll be for you to adjust and prepare for your move.