Moving out from Mom and Dad's place can be fun, exciting, liberating and give you a sense of freedom and responsibility that you may not have had before. At the same time, you might be nervous and there are questions you might have about getting your first place, some we'll help you answer and provide you good info.
- How much should I spend per month?
- What's my deposit for?
- Things I should ask my resident manager?
- What's tenant insurance?
- How can I pay my rent?
- Other costs
- Let's start with the first big one – rent. Living on your own this is going to be your single biggest expense. A good rule to follow is not to spend more than 40% of your income on rent. eg: If you make $2000 a month (after taxes) don't spend more than $800 a month on rent. This will allow you to save a bit of money and have some cash leftover for other important stuff, you know, like food.
- A security deposit is exactly that, it's a deposit of a certain amount of money that your landlord or property management company will keep for damages to the suite. When you sign the lease on an apartment you like, pay your deposit, get approved and have the keys you'll have to do a walkthrough. If the person doing the walkthrough with you is quick, don't rush along with them, take your time, point out any detail no matter how small. Wall scuffs, scratches on doors, check to see if the smoke detectors work. Anything that's not noted in the first walkthrough report, when it's time to move out but something was wrong or "like that" when you moved in, you are automatically on the hook for. When you move out a similar inspection will take place, they'll compare everything noted in the walkthrough report to the current state of the unit. If repairs are needed, then the cost of that is deducted from your deposit and the detail of work along with invoice copy is sent to you, to prove repairs were done.
- Resident managers, landlords, leasing agents are a valuable source of knowledge. Use them! If you haven't done any checking into the neighbourhood, ask the person you're talking to about the apartment. Are the grocery stores nearby, does the property have laundry on-site, what utilities are included and if you're responsible for any additional move out costs. Some landlords will throw on a "steam cleaning" or "oven cleaning" treatment as mandatory when you move out. Make sure to ask!
- Tenant insurance is an absolute must when renting. It covers you and your stuff, based off the policy you get (either through your property management company or third party), against theft, fire, flood and other things. It's relatively inexpensive, $10 – $20 a month and gives you coverage for your possessions just in case the unthinkable happens. Ask your landlord if they offer it or can suggest a company.
- Rent, especially nowadays, can be paid in many different ways. Some companies do auto-debit from your bank account directly on the first of the month so you don't have to worry about it. Other ways include paying by e-transfer, going in to the rental office or head office in your city or town and paying by debit directly, bank drafts/money order or credit card. As this is your first apartment we don't suggest paying by credit card (even if it's allowed) because you're paying interest to your bank on top of your rent! Who wants that extra expense every month? Gross.
- Now that you aren't living at home there's some extra stuff that will cost you money you might not have thought about. Extra utilities like a cell phone, internet, cable and electricity are all going to come from your pocket, so when you're learning to budget get the cheapest packages available until balancing money becomes easier.
Living on your own can be rewarding but can also be daunting when there's so much to know! We hope this answers some questions and from us to you, welcome to the world of #adulting.
Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly-traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK. Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.