But there are two things we know for sure: 1) You are dying to be out on your own, and 2) you have no idea how to do that.
We’d like to help. The least we can do is tell you what to know before renting your first apartment. Because life hasn’t stopped for you, and you should be ready for it.
How Much Rent You Can Afford
Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut. Add up all your monthly costs of living, including food, car payments, car and health insurance, an investment or retirement plan (yes, you need one), and so much more.
Don’t forget student loans and new rental expenses, such as parking, garbage, and renter’s insurance (yes, you need it). There’s a rental application fee, the landlord requires a one-month’s security deposit, and movers cost something.
That number is getting big, and we haven’t even mentioned streaming service, or, you know, furniture to fill the place.
When you have an honest number, subtract it from your monthly net (after-tax) income.
Then subtract more, because you’ll need a financial safety cushion for emergencies and anything you didn’t remember. (Haircuts! Did you include haircuts?)
That is what you have left for rent. Spend time on this—and save up.
Target Your Search
Keep your budget in mind as you get a feel for where you want to live. Check apartment listings, and you’ll understand quickly whether you can afford it. Before you fall in love with a place, though, think.
- Where will you do laundry?
- Where can you park your car?
- Is it close to your health club?
- Is there access to public transportation?
- Is your job far?
- Will they welcome your dog, too?
- Do you know anyone who lives in the area if you get lonely?
It’s hard to guess what will be important to you on a day-to-day basis, but you’ll have to try.
Understand Your Responsibilities
You’re new to renting, so you don’t know what’s expected of you, and property owners don’t know if you’re worth the risk. Assess yourself from a landlord’s point of view:
- What does your credit score mean?
- Do you have references?
- A stable work history?
Familiarize yourself with what they’re looking for in the ideal tenant, and make sure you can live up to all that. The next step: Convince the landlord that you are that ideal tenant.
other valuable tips:
It’s like landing a job, except the goal is to pay them. First impressions count, so when you do meet the owner, be on time. And smell good.
If you’ve gotten this far, that means you’ve had a lot of serious talks with yourself. You’ve probably figured out the most important thing to know before renting your first apartment: adulting is hard. But that doesn’t make the future any less exciting—and you’re going to be great at it.
Image Credit: renting your first apartment by envato.com
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