Tips for 1st Time Apartment Renters

First Time Renting Tips

Moving into an apartment can be fun, but it can also be stressful! This whole process may be new to you, or you may feel lost about what to do at certain points. Before you sink into this new-found freedom and jump right into the first apartment you find, take a moment to go through our handy “First Time Renter” checklist.

    1. Apartment Hunting. Apartment hunting is now much more convenient – thanks to the Internet. We recommend you not only utilize Google Maps to become more familiar with the area, but also look for ratings & reviews, videos or pictures of  the property and check important facts like accessibility to public transportation before you place an apartment community on your short list.
    2. Check Your Credit Score & Report. Having a messy credit report can be dangerous when searching for your apartment. Landlords are always going to check credit, so you want to make sure your score is up to par and there are no surprises in your report. Take time to build up and maintain your credit before you invest in an apartment. Trust us, if you have good credit, the whole process will be much easier.
    3. Budget. Sit down and figure out how much money you spend on rent each month. If standard rent cost is a third of your monthly salary you know you have to keep your search within that price range. Also, be aware that rent isn’t the only cost you are going to have to budget for. Make sure you leave room in your budget for food, bills, and utility costs. If you are trying to start your savings (which you should be), living from one paycheck to the next is going to severely hamper your amount saved.
    4. Limit Your Search. There are a TON of apartments for rent in Florida. Most of them may not fit your particular needs. From the start, define exactly what it is you are looking for. Narrow your search not only by budget and number of beds/baths required but also by commuting distance, and if it applies pet friendly FL apartments.
    5. Talk to your soon-to-be neighbors. Complaints about neighbors are one of the most common issues people have when living in an apartment. Before moving in to a new place, talk to the neighbors. Doing this can help you hear about all the positive things and great people that are in your prospective community. Talking to your neighbors will also establish a positive relationship right off the bat if you do decide to move in.
    6. Understand Your Contract. After you have made a final decision on your new apartment, you will sign a contract. Be sure you understand all the terms before you sign! You want to make sure you clearly understand when the rent is due, and if late when penalties will be assessed; what utilities are included, and what aesthetic changes (i.e. painting) can you possibly make in your new space. Also make sure you get a copy of the signed, final contract.
    7. Deposits: After making the initial deposit on the apartment itself you may need to lay out other necessary payments.  You might find yourself paying a fee for activation of electricity, phone service, cable, or other assorted utilities. A rule of thumb for the security deposit is most often around the cost of one month’s rent and other utility deposits can cost anywhere from $25 to $200. Plan ahead and try and coordinate your move in closer to the beginning of the month, that way you get the most out of your initial deposits and rent costs.
    8. Moving In. Everyone inevitably has friends & family that may be able to help with the move. The issue is that sometimes schedules may conflict and more often than not, moving heavy pieces of furniture, or heavy boxes is challenging. If you have any large or heaver items, go with a professional moving service (make sure you do research into the top moving companies in your area first). If you need furnishings and have a small budget, check second hand or thrift stores. Sometimes you will find a gem, and more often than not, great pieces just need some very minor TLC before they become a permanent fixture in your new place.
    9. Purchase renter’s insurance. You may be hesitant about renter’s insurance, but we strongly recommend that you make this purchase. You may trust yourself not to do damage to your apartment, but you still need to watch out for the “other guy”. Also note that renter’s insurance protects you from natural disasters! Having the piece of mind that you will be covered on your damages can be a relief and extremely helpful should damage actually occur.
    10. Congratulate yourself and enjoy the apartment. You are now the occupant of your very first apartment, so enjoy it! Decorate and furnish to your liking or cook whatever dishes you feel like having. Make your apartment your home, not just some building you live in.  Last but not least – relax! You did great!