February 11, 2019 / By: Dustin Rennie

First Time Apartment Renter Checklist

Personal Interest, Apartment Rentals, Rental Properties, Apartment Tips, Apartment Amenities, Apartment Hunting
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Renting your very first apartment is an exciting time-but it's only natural if you're feeling some anxiety about looking for your first apartment. If you want to make sure that you are prepared when looking for your first apartment to rent, take a look at the following first-time apartment renter checklist.

Before You Rent: Income Checklist

These are not set-in-stone rules, but these are the guidelines recommended by most financial experts to ensure that you can reasonably rent an apartment without putting yourself at financial risk.

You should have

  • A yearly income which is at least 4 times the amount of rent you'll be paying each month (rent should not exceed 25% to 30% of your income).
  • A credit score of 620 (or more!) depending on where you are renting.
  • Money for a security deposit (sometimes properties incentivize low SD).
  • Be of legal age (typically 18).


Before You Rent: Applications

Renting an apartment seems more complex than it actually is. The process of renting can be broken down into 5 simple facets that are easy to understand when you tackle them one at a time.

  1. Step One: Search for apartments and arrange to visit apartments you're interested in. Consider factors such as budget, location in relation to your workplace, whether or not you will need (or already have) a roommate, and other budget concerns.
  2. Step Two: Fill out an application and send it in. You may need to provide references.
  3. Step Three: You'll be contacted if you have been approved for the apartment.
  4. Step Four: If you're accepted, you need to send in a security deposit and a varied amount of money that will be equal to your rent times a number of months as designated by the landlord.


Renting an Apartment: Questions to Ask

Living in an apartment is drastically different than living in a home, whether you owned or simply rented. You should ask the following questions about your apartment and apartment complex to ensure you have the full picture of what life will be like there.

  • What forms of payment are accepted to pay rent?
  • Who do I make payments to? The landlord or someone else? What are the rules regarding late fees?
  • Are pets allowed and if so, are there restrictions and what are the pet fees (if any)?
  • If something breaks in the apartment, is the landlord responsible for fixing it? Are they available 24/7 or only during working hours?
  • How many roommates can I have?
  • Does the apartment come with pre-installed central air and heating?
  • Does the building have quiet hours?– What is the neighborhood like?
  • Are there grocery stores within walking distance?
  • How much storage space does the apartment have?


Renting an Apartment: Amenities Checklist

Apartments typically come with some form of amenities which can make life at the apartment complex more convenient, exciting, or simply more fun. The type and amount of amenities will vary wildly depending on location, price of the building, which owns and runs the building, and even the size of the apartment complex.

Typical service amenities to look for:
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning services (in-suite laundry or on-site laundry)
  • Spas and massage services, gym, etc.
Typical outdoor amenities to look for:
  • Pools– Sports courts (basketball, tennis, etc.)
  • Dog parks or dog walking areas– Locking stations for bikes
  • Children's play areas
  • Social spaces for apartment residents
Typical indoor amenities to look for:
  • Club gym
  • Arcade or game rooms
  • Coffee stations


With this checklist in mind, embarking on your first apartment rental adventure is sure to be much easier. If you are in the market for an affordable apartment rental contact Mainstreet Equity and learn about our first-time renter options.