Clementine Hull. Apartment. August 01st , 2018.
The independence of renting your first apartment is exciting, but don't allow your excitement to overshadow reason. Being a first-time renter is challenging and requires responsibility. Before you start viewing apartments, take some time to define your needs and calculate a budget. Add up all of your monthly income, including financial aid, and multiply this number by 0.3. The resulting value is 30% of your monthly income and roughly the amount you can comfortably spend on rent. Only consider apartments for rent with a cost close to this number. Now, do you have pets? Are you open to a roommate? What amenities do you prefer? Do you have transportation, or will you need to walk to class? Ask yourself questions like these, and stay within your budget to narrow your options.
Make sure you check out the crime rate in your potential area. There are some crimes that are annoying, but if you choose an area with a high crime rate, it can become a life threatening problem. Most counties and cities publish their crime rate reports online for free public viewing. Traffic is something else that you need to be aware of. It isn't enough to just visit the apartment in person. Even if it's located next to a freeway, it doesn't necessarily mean there won't be constant traffic jams.
Also, when talking rental agreement with the landlord, make sure that it includes the rental rate, security deposits, length of occupancy, apartment rules and termination requirements. Ask questions like how many people can stay in the apartments, when is the rent collection, what are included in the rental rates (i.e, water, gas, electricity, etc.) and under what conditions is the deposit refundable. And lastly, don't forget to check for signs of damage before you move in and inform the landlord immediately so you don't have to pay for anything you didn't break.
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