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Finding Your Next Apartment

What You Need to Know Before Your Apartment Search

August 3, 2019


Searching for and moving to a new apartment can be exciting. It can be a change of scenery, a way to meet new friends and an opportunity to explore a new neighborhood.

But it can also be stressful trying to find the perfect place, navigating the application process, and just physically relocating all of your things. With that in mind, we hope this handy guide will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.

Here are some useful tips for the journey to finding your new home:

Know the Costs

Have a budget in mind before beginning your search. Generally, renters should aim to spend no more than 30% of pre-tax income on rent and no more than half of income on rent plus utilities and all related fixed costs.

Only once a budget is in place should you begin evaluating your options. At this point it’s important to think about more than just the headline monthly rent figure. There will be application fees, upfront deposits and even moving expenses. How about a charge for pets? And parking can be a substantial cost, especially if the apartment is in a coveted location.

Beyond those key considerations, you’ll be able to get more information from property managers and leasing agents by asking questions like, what’s the average cost that people are paying for utilities and what does that include (gas, electric, internet)? Think about your own unique situation — do you want laundry services on-site or are you okay with paying for off-site service? How about a gym? Storage areas?

For your convenience, here’s a list of expenses to consider:

Upfront Expenses:

*Application fee
*Security deposit
*Broker fee
*Moving expenses

Monthly Expenses:

*Rent
*Utilities (gas, electricity, internet, cable)
*Renters insurance
*Parking
*Amenities (gym, pool, etc.)
*Pet fee

Prepare Documents

There are a ton of documents you’ll need before you can even finalize a lease. To ease the process of moving, reduce stress, and save yourself time, make sure to have everything readily available at your fingertips.

Here’s a handy checklist of what property managers may be asking for:

*Identification
*Pay stub
*W-2
*Dated bank statements
*References from previous landlords
*Rental history
*Check or cash to pay application fee

DYOR

Do your own research before making your final decision. Get to know the community and the surrounding neighborhood. If possible, talk with other tenants about the pros and cons. And think about your own priorities. Are you willing to sacrifice amenities for the optimal location? Are you looking for a pet-friendly community or outdoor space? Create a list of amenities and features that are most important to you. Think about what’s a must-have and what might you be willing to give up.

Read the fine print and understand the proposed lease terms. If you’re unsure about something, just ask. There are no stupid questions! Familiarize yourself with a community’s policies. Can you pay online, and how does trash and recycling work?

And of course, visit the property. There’s no substitute for actually seeing the place in person.

We hope you’ve found this resource to be helpful! If you are still looking for an apartment, we encourage you to check out all of the properties offering Rhove, where you can make money on rent.