What a dizzying thought that is to move into your first apartment! Ah, the freedom! Getting your first apartment is a huge milestone, so you have the right to be excited. However, it also means serious business. You’re stepping into an uncharted territory, so we’re here to help with these five tips.
1. Don’t overestimate your income
Before you say “I can afford that”, sit down and go through your budget. The rule of thumb is that your rent shouldn’t go over a third of your income. But it’s far from being the only expense you pay for living in the apartment: there are others that pile up quickly.
One of them is renter’s insurance. Getting coverage is necessary, and you’ll be happy you have it if something happens – fire, flood, burglary, and so on.
Other expenses include utilities (sometimes they’re not included in the rent), parking spot (if applicable), mini-reparations, and of course, food and necessities.
Put all these in your budget calculation to find out how much you can really afford for rent.
2. Getting your first apartment needs money
This may seem obvious, but many first-timers don’t realize just how much money they need in the bank for their application to be approved. You’ll need to have around twice the amount of the rent in your account: one month’s rent plus a security deposit (usually equals to one month’s rent).
It’s also wise to leave a few hundred more to solidify your application, or to pay your real estate agent, the actual moving, and a background credit check.
3. Read the contract before signing
We know there are many pages, but read them all. Signing the lease means that you agree to all terms, and going back on your words won’t be easy – and can be expensive. So read all the fine and big prints.
One of the things you need to check is the term or the duration of the contract. You won’t want to agree to a year term if you only plan to stay 8 months. Other clauses to check include utility expenses, quiet hours policy, included appliances, building maintenance, and so on. You have to be clear about everything before signing.
Don’t forget to ask for a copy a signed contract, so you have a proof of agreement.
4. Inspect every single detail
Toilets that clog or leaking taps will make your life nightmarish. When visiting apartments, check every little thing. Inspect the walls for holes, the floors for dents, light switches that need to be changed, in short: be critical. There’s no perfect apartment, but it’s important to notice things that need improvement or reparation.
You can either ask your leasing agents to fix them or at least make it known at the beginning, so you don’t get the blame for broken things before your arrival.
5. Don’t overspend on furniture
We understand you want your apartment to look nice. But it’s not an excuse to buy everything new or all at the same time. In the beginning, you can buy what’s necessary: a bed, a dining table, and a couch. Then, you can ask your families and friends for hand-me-down furniture or appliances.
Don’t be ashamed to want to save! Scouring flea markets or the internet for second-handed things are a great way, too. There’s no rush in making your apartment look great; you’ll do it over time. Don’t let the excitement of getting your first apartment cloud your judgment. Start with setting your budget and take everything step by step.
Do you have another tip to share? Leave a comment below!
If you’re ready to visit some apartments, contact us, and we’ll help you find your first.