Apartment living offers myriads of benefits over other alternatives, especially if you're a young adult starting out in your first job and establishing your career. If paying a mortgage is no longer doing it for you, finding an affordable apartment might also be the right downsizing move you need. But let's face it; hunting for the perfect apartment is no easy task.
Finding the 'perfect apartment' is far from a walk in the park, and can often be rushed. Here is a quick ten-step guide that's poised to make your hunt for the best apartment a breeze.
#1. Know Your Financial Standing: How Much Rent Can You Afford?
Before you start searching for an apartment, you want to take an incisive look at your finances, with a particular focus on your personal budget. This way, you'll determine your rental price range as well as figure out budget areas where you can cut back to afford a pricier apartment with more amenities or in a better area. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn't spend more than 20 percent of your monthly income on your rent.
#2. Look For Ways To Lower Your Rental Costs
If you want to have a pleasant stay in your apartment, it's paramount that you stay on top of the rental costs. Luck for you, there are a number of nifty ways you can do so:
- Think beyond urban neighborhoods:
Ideally, you want to live as close as possible to what matters most to you (job, friends, entertainment, etc), but if affording the rent is an issue you might want to look outside an urban region.
Yes, you can haggle yourself to a bargain rent if you do it correctly.
- Go for a small apartment:
do you really need a 1500+ square feet apartment? Consider how much space you really need, and what is a 'want' and what is a 'need'.
- Find a roommate:
Living with someone will help to cut down the monthly rent costs and additional expenses.
#3. Know Your Credit Score
Just like lenders, landlords and letting firms look at your credit history and credit score before qualifying you for an apartment. If your credit score is lower than 620, you might have to put down an even bigger deposit. On the flipside, a stellar credit score (770+) gives you the upper hand when negotiating for a better price.
#4. Think About The Renters Insurance
The vast majority of landlords require that you take out renters insurance. It'll cover the losses in case of burglary or break-in as well as any damage you'll cause to the property.
#5. Round-Up The Deposit
There's a good chance you'll be required to pay a downpayment which usually includes the first and the last months' rent. At Mainstreet Equity our properties offer discounted security deposits and incentives. Before you rent make sure you have enough saved to cover the rent plus the deposit.
#6. Start The Search
When it comes to apartment hunting, the earlier you start the better, ideally 3 months prior. For the best results, consider the price, transportation costs, safety and convenience offered by each choice. When searching for apartments make your list of priorities and do as much research as possible to ensure you get your perfect apartment.
#7. Gather Relevant Documents
Apart of conducting a background and credit check, landlords need to look at a slew of other docs to prove that you are not a credit flop and a reliable tenant. To be on the safe side, have your pay stubs, letter of employment, reference letters, and tax returns handy.
#8. Ask Questions
While communicating with the landlord or caretaker will shed light to most of your concerns, it's best to have a chat with some of the tenants as well. The tenants live in the building and understand its strengths and weaknesses. When looking at a property ask as many questions as possible to the landlord, resident manager, and existing tenants.
#9. Do A Walk-Through
Before signing on the dotted line, take a top-down examination of the apartment. If possible, you can have a professional inspector assess it on your behalf. A walk-through helps to determine preexisting damages, building amenities and in some cases the neighbours.
#10. Read and reread the lease before signing it
A lease is a contract, and like any contract, it should be read and reviewed before signing. When you get your lease contract to review the document, and even get a second set of eyes to review it to ensure it is the best agreement for you and your needs.