As a first-time renter, you may be excited or anxious about finding your own place. Either way, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that could put you at a disadvantage.
To help you out, here are some mistakes to avoid when looking for apartments for rent:
Not doing your research
One of the most common mistakes first-time renters make is not doing their research. It’s important to know what you’re looking for in an apartment and what you can afford before you start searching. Otherwise, you may waste time looking at apartments that are out of your price range or that don’t meet your needs.
Not knowing your credit score
Another mistake first-time renters make is not knowing their credit score. Your credit score is one of the factors landlords will consider when determining whether or not to approve your application, so it’s important to know what it is before you start looking for apartments.
Not reading the lease
It’s also important to read the lease before you sign it. Many first-time renters make the mistake of not reading the lease or understanding all of the terms and conditions. Be sure to read the entire lease and ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand.
Not budgeting for utilities
Another mistake first-time renters make is not budgeting for utilities. Many apartments don’t include utilities in the rent, so you’ll need to factor that into your budget when determining how much you can afford to spend on rent each month.
Not saving up enough money
Another mistake that first-time renters make is not saving up enough money for the security deposit and first month’s rent. Most landlords require a security deposit equal to one month’s rent, and some may even require two months’ rent upfront. In addition, many landlords also require that you have renter’s insurance, which can add an additional cost to your monthly expenses.
Not having renter’s insurance
Many first-time renters don’t have renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is relatively inexpensive and can protect your belongings in case of theft, damage, or other problems. Be sure to get a quote for renter’s insurance before you move into your new apartment.
Forgetting about security
One of the most common mistakes first-time renters make is forgetting about security. Before you move into a new apartment, be sure to check out the security features and ask questions about safety. Find out if there’s a doorman or security guard, what type of locks are on the doors, and whether or not the windows have bars. You should also find out if the building has a fire alarm system and an emergency evacuation plan.
Falling for rental scams
Another mistake first-time renters make is falling for rental scams. There are a lot of scammers out there who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting renters. Be sure to do your research and work with a reputable company or individual when searching for an apartment. Never pay for an apartment without seeing it first and be sure to get everything in writing before you sign a lease.
Not checking out the neighbors/neighborhood
Another mistake first-time renters make is not checking out the neighbors or neighborhood before they move in. Be sure to take some time to walk around the neighborhood and meet some of the people who live there.
Rushing through the process without asking important questions
Many first-time renters make the mistake of rushing through the process without asking important questions. Be sure to take your time and ask plenty of questions before you sign a lease. Some important things to ask about include rent prices, utilities, security features, and the length of the lease. You should also find out if there are any restrictions or rules that you need to be aware of before you move in.
Not understanding their rights and responsibilities
As a renter, you have certain rights and responsibilities that are outlined in both state and federal law. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these laws so that you know what your rights are in case there are any problems with your landlord or your apartment. Additionally, knowing your rights and responsibilities will help you avoid any potential legal issues down the road.
Not knowing who to contact with problems
First-time renters also often don’t know who to contact when they have problems with their apartment or their landlord. If something goes wrong, such as a broken appliance or a leaky faucet, it’s important to know who to contact so that the problem can be fixed quickly.
Renting an apartment is a big step, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Just be sure to do your research, read the lease carefully, get renter’s insurance, and don’t forget to budget for utilities. By following these simple tips, you can avoid making common mistakes that first-time renters make.