Tips for first time renters
Are you looking to become a first time renter? Congratulations! This milestone moment can be an exciting time. Before you move out on your own, you’ve got a lot to consider. Get our best tips for first time renters – everything from finding a roommate to managing rent payments and more.
Consider all the costs
Before you move out, you’ve got to consider all the costs associated with it. In addition to your monthly rent payment, there may also be monthly utility costs like internet, television, and electricity. Renter’s insurance (also called tenant's insurance) is another consideration. This will cover the value of loss or damage to your personal possessions, accidental damage to your rental unit and injury caused to visitors to your apartment.
In addition to the ongoing monthly costs, there are also the costs of getting yourself set up in your first apartment. There are moving expenses, such as truck rental or hiring a professional moving service, boxes and supplies, as well as the time taken off work for the move itself. Here are some tips to help plan your move.
Then there are the costs associated with stocking and furnishing your new apartment. You’ll need more than just furniture, if you’re a first time renter you may also need things like dishes, kitchen utensils, bedding and cleaning supplies. Check out our other tips for finding and furnishing your first apartment.
Make a budget and stay within it
Now that you know what renting will really cost, it’s time to make a budget and stay within it. Hoping you’ll have enough money at the end of the month to live on simply won’t cut it when you move out and become a first time renter. Spending too much of your monthly income on rent will leave you short for your other living expenses. As a general rule, your rent and related expenses should not exceed 35% of your gross monthly income (before taxes and deductions). Planning a budget doesn’t have to be complicated. This budget planning tool can help.
Living with roommates
If all the costs of being a first time renter are making you a little anxious, relax. There is an easy solution. Living with a roommate (or two) is an easy way to reduce your expenses and share the cost of living. Becoming a first time renter and deciding who to live with are big decisions. Before you move in with someone, it’s important to talk it over and make certain that you are comfortable with each other and compatible as roommates. You will also want to sort out exactly how the potential living arrangement will work. Consider things like how the rent and security deposit will be divided, how utilities will be divided and what each of you will buy or provide for the apartment in terms of furniture, utensils etc. You can find a great roommate with these tips. You may also want to brush up on how to be a good roommate, too!
Credit reports and scores
Before you sign a lease, the landlord or property management company may check your credit report. If you have had credit trouble in the past, or you have no credit history at all, the landlord or property management company may require a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a parent or legal guardian with good credit history. The guarantor agrees to pay on your behalf in the event that you are unable to pay the rent.
Beware of rental frauds and potential scams
There is a lot to consider when you’re a first time renter. Unfortunately, there are people who are looking to take advantage of people and their lack of experience. Rental scams exist. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. If you see and add where the rent being asked for is far less than the market average, that's a red flag. If you are asked for a deposit without signing and receiving your copy of the lease or rental agreement, that’s a red flag. If you’re told you have the apartment, but no credit or background check is done on you – red flag. If you get an email that sends you to a website where they ask for personal information, don’t fill it in. If the ads for the rental apartment only show the outside of the building or if the pictures don’t match the actual property, you guessed it – red flag. Do your research and rent exclusively from reputable landlords or property management companies with a proven positive track record.
We hope these tips for first time renters help make this exciting time go as smoothly as possible.