Renting your first apartment

Category: Housing

Architectural details of modern apartment building.

Moving out on your own and renting your first apartment can be an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. After all, moving is almost always a major life transition, but it can be especially overwhelming when it’s the first time you’ll be out on your own. The following tips can help anyone who is thinking about a move, but can be especially beneficial to those who are inexperienced with renting their own place:

Pull your credit report

As someone renting their first apartment, you won’t have any rental housing history, so getting approved for housing can be a little difficult. If you are living with your parents and paying them rent, however, some landlords will accept this as rental history. Another thing to consider, though, is your credit. If you’re young and just beginning to establish credit, or your credit is brand new and you haven’t even started yet, you may have some trouble. Pull your credit report and see where you stand; you may need to get someone with good credit to cosign on a lease for you. If you’re unable to get a cosigner, you may need to pay last month’s rent upon move-in, in addition to a larger security deposit. You may even need to wait a little longer while you establish your credit and postpone your move altogether.

Set a sensible rent budget

You may be used to paying bills, but it’s different when you’re solely responsible for your rent, household bills, and living expenses. As such, when you’re determining what your maximum monthly rent budget will be, it’s important not to set a number that’s too high. Even if it seems realistic at the time, it’s crucial to budget for the unexpected and to plan ahead financially for emergencies. It’s not unusual for first-time renters to underestimate just how much it costs to live on their own, and the last thing you want is to experience financial difficulties soon after moving out. Pick an amount that you can comfortably afford to pay each month, and don’t go beyond that amount.

Be prepared for moving expenses

Moving can be expensive, and a lot of first-time renters are not prepared for all of the different costs involved. If you are bringing a lot of furniture and heavy items, you may need to hire movers and a moving van. Additionally, be prepared to have first month’s rent ready on the day you move in, in addition to a security deposit. You may also need to pay last month’s rent as well, plus other miscellaneous move-in fees, which can add up to a few hundred extra dollars. If you have any pets, you’ll need to pay an additional pet deposit, and some landlords also charge non-refundable pet fees.

Look into various college housing options

Are you moving out for the first time because you’re going off to college? If so, explore the different housing options that are available exclusively to college students; some can help save you both time and money. While renting a traditional apartment is always an option, dormitory living may be your best bet. If living on campus or in a dorm isn’t for you, your college may also offer special housing in nearby apartment communities that are only for students. These communities often have cheaper rent, the perks of living on your own and in a traditional apartment, while also being conveniently located near your school. Ask your college for more information.



Tags: college, credit reports, leases, moving, renting a home, roommates

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