Submitted by: Chie Suarez
If it’s not possible yet to afford a house or apartment to yourself at this point of your life, your best option for now is to lease an apartment.
It’s exciting to hop on and start searching for cost-effective rentals out there. However, the excitement may overshadow what you really need to look for in an apartment. Many renters have fell in the same trap — envisioning their ideal homes, ignoring the important considerations and landlord policies.
Put aside your ideal home design and decor, prioritize first to look for a good apartment that offers rules you can abide and you’re comfortable with.
Before you sign the lease, here are things you must know first and consider.
- Set a budget
Before you even begin looking for rentals, set a concrete budget first. Otherwise, you might go overboard and have a hard time budgeting all your expenses. Remember, rent is only one of the many bills you’ll be paying once you live on your own.
In addition, you’ll be able to focus where to search apartments according to your budget. This way you can skip the more lavish apartments that are completely out of your pocket. Consider also sharing a place with roommates for cheaper rent.
- Get to know the neighborhood
You should note that the price of rent depends on the neighborhood as well. It could be cheap but a bit too far from the business district and where you work. If so, calculate the rent and your transportation expenses and compare it with other rentals that are a few dollars more expensive but closer to your work.
Also, who wants to live in a bad neighborhood, right? Walk around the neighborhood one morning and evening to observe. Note if there are some suspicious activities around the area especially in the building. Trust your guts and instincts. If you don’t feel safe in the area, skip it.
- Restrictions and policies
List down what you look for in a place and ask the landlord regarding their restrictions about it. Is there a free parking spot for you? Are pets allowed? Are you allowed to repaint the walls? Are there any home decoration restrictions? What happens when maintenance and utility problems occur? These are just among the many questions you need to ask.
Don’t be timid, ask away your concerns.
- Inspect the apartment
This is what most renters fail to do: inspect the whole apartment especially the “hidden” attributes. Don’t let the empty space deceive you.
Open all the cabinets and drawers, check the faucet, flush the toilet, check the lights, pipes, faulty appliances ; basically turn inside out the whole space to see if there are damages or faulty issues that needs repair.
This step is very important for if you skip this one and at the end the landlord sees a damage in the wall you’ve never seen before, you’ll get blamed for it.
Some utilities are already covered in rent and others are not. Ask if the rent covers any utilities or not. If so, you can contact directly with the utility providers for installation and concerns.
- Know your landlord
These landlords are reviewing renters like a job interview. They want to see you with an impressive resume, that means a good credit history and tenant history.
Likewise, it’s your right to also get some digging about your landlord. It’s important to see how will your tenant-landlord relationship will go. In addition, doing some background check on your landlord might save you from conflicts; it’s important to know if the person receiving your rent check is undergoing a financial slump.
- Read the fine print
A common mistake upon signing a lease is not reading the lease contract. Read everything the contract contains so if there are any questions or concerns, you can ask straight away.
Also, if you came to a deal verbally, make sure that you’re able to write it down and have the landlord sign it. This will prove the agreement between you and the landlord. Always get everything written to have proof of it.
After reading the lease carefully, note your concerns and make a deal or agreement with the landlord. For instance, offering a long-term lease or high security deposit, or the works. Make sure that you’re polite and open when negotiating.
What other important things should a renter know about? Share it with us!
About Chie Suarez
Chie Suarez is a passionate writer for PAAL Kit Homes, a company that manufactures and supplies steel-framed kit homes that help Australian families build their dream home. Chie has a deep interest in home design and decoration.
May 4, 2016