How to Rent an Apartment With No Job
Renting an apartment typically requires proof of income, good credit and a steady job to ensure you can continue paying into the future. If you have a nontraditional source of income or are unemployed and seeking a rental, finding an owner who will accept your application can be challenging.
If you don’t have a traditional income to provide to your potential landlord but you have the cash to pay the rent, you might be able to work something out. Landlords want to rent to people who will pay — and pay on time. If you are unable to meet the income requirements for a given property, offer to pay a large chunk of the rent up front. Handing over six months rent before the lease has started might be enough to persuade the landlord you are good for the money. In extreme cases, you can offer to pay the entire lease up front or to provide a larger-than-normal security deposit to ensure the rent will be paid and the landlord will get the money owed no matter what.
In some situations, good credit is weighed more heavily than the presence or lack of an income. If you are a recent graduate who has not yet found work but who has the financial wherewithal to cover the first few months of rent, some landlords will refer to your credit history to see if you are responsible with your bills and if they can count on you as a tenant. If your credit history is good and you are upfront about your situation, a landlord might be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Tell the landlord that if you do not find a new job in the first month or two, you will return to your old position to ensure there is enough money coming in to cover the rent. Get a letter from your old employer stating this as proof.
Use your relationships with former employers and landlords to demonstrate your responsibility and good standing as a tenant. If your employers and landlords are willing to vouch for your good character based on years of experience, your landlord might be more open to you as a tenant. Present your letters and reference contact information to the landlord at the time of your application submission.
Ask a relative or close friend to sign the lease with you as a guarantor. If your co-signer has good credit and sufficient income, the landlord should have no problem giving you the lease. Inform your co-signer that they will be responsible for the rent if you fail to pay so there are no surprises down the road. While this is not the ideal situation and many people are not thrilled to take on such a burden, if you have no income and bad credit, it can be the only option.
One of the most important factors in a landlord’s decision to consider you as a tenant is the state of the market in the area you are looking. If the apartment is in high demand and there is a line of qualified applicants waiting for a chance at it, you will not likely be at the top of the list. On the other hand, if the landlord owns only a few units and the demand is not high, she will typically be more open to nontraditional applications.
How to Rent an Apartment With New Hire Letters | Home Guides
Vicious cycles are everywhere in life. You have a great new job offer and need a place to live in the area you will be working. But how can you get an apartment without having already begun the job? Believe it or not, it can be done if you take a few steps to prepare.
A new hire letter, written on corporate letterhead tells a landlord about your income as of a specific date. It gives the landlord assurance that you are capable of paying rent going forward.
Think Quick in a Hot Market
The most important thing you can do, especially in a hot rental market like San Francisco, is get prepared. The old adage, promise less and deliver more, rings very true in this scenario. USNews.com recommends you contact potential landlords the instant you know the apartment comes on the market. This is especially true when you are trying to get a place using your new hire letter. The less competition prior to your meeting the landlord, the better.
Verify Future Income
The fact that many landlords already require a letter from your employer verifying your employment with the company puts you ahead of the game. There is not a lot of difference between a letter that states you work at the company and make a certain income, and one that states you will be starting the job on a specific date and will make a certain income. The one difference, however, is that the first shows history while the second only shows promise. But it also shows your employer’s commitment.
Add Strength With Supporting Documentation
Along with your new hire letter, put together a packet that includes bank statements, letters of reference from former landlords or roommates and a current printout of your credit report. The less work the landlord has to do to verify you will be a stable tenant, the better your chances of securing the apartment once your new hire letter arrives.
One advantage you have over others is that a paycheck stub only proves where you worked last week. For all the landlord knows, you could have been terminated and are between jobs with no prospects this week. A new hire letter is evidence that you have an income moving forward, which is when you will be living in the landlord’s property. According to MassLandlords.net, an offer letter is a common method of verifying income. Make sure your offer is written on official company letterhead and if possible offer to have the company send the letter directly to the landlord from the human resources department. This assures him you have not fabricated the letter on your own.
While a new hire letter might be a risky proposition for some landlords, if you present yourself well, include evidence of a stable rental history and a decent credit score, your new hire letter should work well as proof of income and you will get a landlord’s approval.
How to Rent Out My Apartment
Renting out your apartment requires a lot of research and work to ensure the space is in top shape. Whether it is a property you have lived in and want to vacate or an investment property, make decisions that give you the best return, while protecting your property and self. Choose between a do-it-yourself approach and hiring a real estate agent to manage the apartment for you.
Prepare the Apartment
Get the apartment ready for the tenant by cleaning and painting the interior and exterior. Check appliances and plumbing to ensure everything works properly. Repair and replace non-functioning appliances such as heaters and air conditioners. Check and repair stairways and outdoor areas such as the balcony to ensure a habitable space, and take care of safety appliances such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
Decide on the Package
Determine rental terms and what you want to offer the tenant. Decide whether you want a month-to-month lease or fixed-term tenancy, and whether it will be a furnished or unfurnished rental. Depending on the size of your apartment, decide on the maximum number of tenants it can accommodate and whether to allow pets. Estimate your rent price by comparing rates of similar apartments in your neighborhood. Be sure to calculate the costs of maintaining the apartment such as mortgage payments, taxes, utilities and legal fees if necessary. The aim is to ensure the rent price you set will make you a profit.
Find a Tenant
Advertise your apartment through friends and family, local dailies and online listings. Include the most relevant information about the house such as location, size and price. You can also choose to use a real estate agent who, using your list of preferences for a tenant, can match you up with a compatible fit at a fee.
Perform a Background Check
Interview prospective tenants in a public place. Confirm their employment status, and check their bank statements and credit reports. Contact former landlords to confirm their experience with the tenant in terms of paying rent on time. Landlords use this information to verify a tenant’s ability to afford and pay rent on time. Check past criminal records and in most states you can ask for proof of legal residence.
Prepare a Legal Contract
Put together a lease agreement, which outlines your obligations as a landlord and those of the tenant. Include the terms of the lease such as the duration of the tenancy, the date when rent is due, eviction procedures and extra charges such as parking and garbage collection. Seal the deal by signing the agreement to make it legally binding.
About the Author
William Dailey is well-versed on local and international aﬀairs with sound financial, economic and business knowledge. He is an MBA and Business Administration graduate from the Kingston University and The London School of Business and Finance, respectively. William has been writing professionally since 2011.
- TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images
How to rent an apartment in Dubai
Finding housing in any country is a challenge, especially when you don’t know where to start. This particularly applies to places you’ve never been to, and this is why Spotahome compiled the all you need to know about renting an apartment in Dubai guide. By the end, you’ll be an expert in house-hunting in Dubai!
Whether you’re moving with your family, with a significant other, or just on your own, you should consider 3 basic factors: location, practicality and budget.
Dubai has many neighbourhoods, in fact, so many that narrowing it down to just one can be a nightmare. Asking yourself the following questions may help you to make a decision.
- Is your new place near your work?
If you’re a young, single professional, you’ll probably want to live near the main business areas. Deira and Business Bay would be the obvious choices — both are prominent centres for commerce and general business. If you have a job in broadcasting, publishing or advertising, consider Media City — the centre of the media industry for the Middle East.
- Do you have a family to consider?
Dubai may seem like a centre for business, but it also has a number of charming areas that are geared towards family life with parks, schools and restaurants that appeal to all ages. Schooling varies in price, and all education institutions are private. This may be obvious, but if you’re planning on sending your children to school, it’s wiser to consider an area based on the institutions nearby. The most popular choices amongst expat families include Arabian Ranches, Umm Suqeim, The Springs and The Greens.
- How much free time do you have?
If you’re a student or moving to Dubai with a significant other, you may find yourself with a lot of free time. There is plenty to do in this bustling city, so steer clear of residential, family-oriented areas if you’re focusing on fun. Consider districts such as Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, Bur Dubai and Al Quoz to keep yourself entertained and make new friends.
2) Is practicality your prerogative?
- How much do you rely on public transport?
As Dubai is large and spread out, getting from one place to another is a challenge. Driving is still the most convenient way to get from A to B, so if you have a car, look for a place with parking facilities. If driving is out of the question, you’ll be pleased to hear that Dubai has an ever-improving metro service that operates over 2 lines and has a total of 29 stops — it may be wise to look for an apartment near a station. Dubai also has efficient bus, tram and taxi services — bear this in mind during your search.
- Would you rather live in a house, villa or apartment?
Dubai’s accommodation is mostly elegant and luxurious — the majority of rooms have ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. If you’re moving to the city alone, would you prefer to live by yourself or in a house with more of a community feel? Apartments seem to be more centrally located, whereas houses are often in residential areas. The main question is, what is your budget?
- Is staying active on your agenda?
Due to the heat and size of Dubai, the most popular mode of transport is driving. The lack of walking combined with eating in restaurants means that you might want to put fitness first. Luckily, this isn’t a problem in the United Arab Emirates. Every neighbourhood has at least one gym and several sports groups, but in Victory Heights, you’ll find Fit Republik — the largest gym in the Middle East. Sports City, as you’d guess, is one of the best places to get into shape in Dubai. Victory Heights, Deira, Al Barsha and Jumeirah are all known for their parks and greenery, and Els Club, also in Victory Heights, is one of the world’s best golf clubs.
3) How tight is your budget?
Area prices seem to rise and fall like the tide, so keep your eyes peeled for a cheap property. If you cannot find something suitable, find other ways to save money. For example, if you make sure that you look for an apartment with an oven, you can cook your meals from home instead of having to go to restaurants!
Rules and regulations:
It’s all very well finding your perfect property in Dubai, but bear in mind that rules can be strict for renters. It’s often common that landlords require the whole year’s rent upon signing the contract. Check out this technical guide compiled by Gulf News — here you’ll find out everything about the legal policies associated with renting in Dubai.
If these rules seem too complicated or if you want to book in advance, check out Spotahome’s properties in Dubai, complete with video tours, floorplans and professional photos!
How to rent an apartment in Stockholm
In this guide we will try to give you all the insider tips that we gathered after renting an apartment in Stockholm several times, we really hope you find it useful!
As you may have noticed renting an apartment in Stockholm is a hard task, but if you invest enough time and you are flexible with your demands (price – location) then you will find something. It’s difficult but not impossible.
Moving to Stockholm
If you are living abroad and want to move to Stockholm, things are a bit more complicated but you can still manage everything.
Our suggestion is that you try to find something for the first 1 to 3 months so you have a place to crash when you arrive.
Once you are in the city and you have a clearer idea about where you want to live, how the Swedish apartments are and what your net salary is (in case you already have a job) you can search again for something that really fits your needs.
The main benefits of this approach are:
- Plenty of apartments to choose from: It’s quite common that landlords rent their places when on vacation or when they have to work abroad even for short periods, so you will not have problems finding short term rental apartments.
- Less competitors: People already living in the city are looking for long term rentals, because they don’t want to move every few months, so you will find less people asking for these apartments
- Lower price: And as the landlords know that, the trick to get the apartment rented out is to lower the price, so usually each time that you find an apartment with a good price it’s for a short term contract (1 to 3 months).
Long term contracts
If you are already in the city looking for long term contracts it’s important that you know some things.
Usually the contracts are for 6 months with a possibility of another 6-month extension. And in some cases you can get a 1 year contract, but it’s extremely rare that you find something longer than that.
After 1 year, for most of the landlords that own a “Bostadsrätt” (flat in a building), they have to ask again for permission to sublet the apartment to the board of directors of the building (we are writing another guide about all these ownership issues).
So the longest that you will find is 6 months with possibility of extension or 1 year contract, be happy with that 😉
Why is it so difficult?
Getting apartments for rent in Stockholm, especially with long term contracts, is difficult because there is a big scarcity of available rentals.
Some kinds of apartment are extremely demanded so getting one of them is really complicated.
These apartments usually share these 3 characteristics:
- Location: As close to the center of the city as possible
- Price: As cheap as possible
- Contract Length: At least 6 months
And being more specific we are talking about:
- Rooms in the city for 6 months and in a price range about 3000-4000 SEK
- 1-room flats in the center of the city, minimum 6 months, up to 8000 SEK
- 2-room flats (living room + bedroom) in the center, minimum 6 months, up to 13000 SEK
If this is what you are looking for, you are going to have a hard time finding one, so how can you solve it?
Adjusting expectations: Do you really need to live in the center?
The public transport in Stockholm is amazing in terms of speed and frequency and the area that is considered the “city” is surprisingly small.
That means that this nice apartment that you just found might seem to be “in the woods” according to google maps, but in reality it’s only 15 minutes away from the center (T Centralen T-Bana and train Station)
Sollentuna to T-centralen in 18min. Red area is “the city”.
So we recommend you not to be too obsessed with living in the “city” as this will increase dramatically your chances of finding a nice and affordable apartment.
Where to find Landlords?
There are a lot of different websites that can help you to get a rental in Stockholm, we are going to analyze some of the best well known ones:
It’s the biggest classified ads website in Sweden with a lot of rentals posted everyday, but also the place that most people use.
A lot of properties posted everyday
1) Almost all the ads are in Swedish
2) As most people use it, the landlords receive a huge amount of inquiries so it’s difficult to even get an answer.
1) Use Google Chrome, and right click to select “Translate to English”.
The translation is not perfect but it’s good enough to make a decision.
2) Use pre-filtered searches:
Here you have some handy links that can be helpful until you get used to the different areas:
And, if you want to make filters on your own, this is the list of the areas considered “city” that have the highest demand and higher price:
3) To save time and avoid checking Blocket several times a day, you can receive an email as soon as a new rental property is published using Easy Rental.
You can specify filters based on rent, size, number of rooms and if you are interested in rooms in shared apartments.
BostadDirekt — bostaddirekt.com
BostadDirekt is an online real estate agency, there you can find a lot of rooms and apartments available
The website has an English version (for the menus and help pages) but the available rentals are usually in Swedish.
You can search in their website for free, then if you want to have access to the landlords’ contact information you can subscribe for 695 SEK for 30 days.
It’s a bit easier to get answers from landlords than in Blocket.
1) A bit pricey
2) There is no easy way to spot new listings, so you will spend a lot of time trying to spot the new apartments posted after your first visit.
1) Once you made a first filter, use the chrome translate this page feature and it will translate all the ads at once (until you make another search)
2) When you pay, you are creating your personal profile and the landlords have access to it. Some landlords prefer to pick tenants manually instead of placing a listing, so if you add plenty of information to your profile you can be contacted by them.
There are plenty of Facebook groups where you can post your needs and wait to be contacted or where you can check posts from landlords and then PM (private message) them.
Usually the most common post that you will see there are shared rooms or individual flats (1 room) but even if you are looking for a bigger apartment it’s always worth a try. As an extra you can meet really nice people who already live in the city.
The biggest English speaking groups are:
Usually they are closed groups, apply to join and then check them daily because when a property is posted there the landlords get PMs quite fast.
Scams and Fraud
From time to time, you may find some scammers during your search for a rental in Stockholm.
These people may try to:
- Get the money from the deposit and then disappear (and you have no house and lose your deposit)
- Lure you to apply to an ad and then sell your email address. You will notice they got you when you will receive lots of spam emails of big lottery wins that you can cash in by paying a 1000 USD fee.
It’s quite easy to spot them and avoid troubles, just follow these tips:
- If you see a “too good to be true” apartment (i.e. 7000 SEK, 60m in the city, long term) there is a high probability that this is a scam, remember there is a big scarcity in the market, there are NO bargains.
- When a landlord tells you that you have to pay the deposit to a foreign account (usually located in UK) and that he will send you the keys via UPS, this is SURELY a SCAM
- Sometimes they even show you the flat, and then ask you to make the deposit in a foreign account, be careful.
- Only pay the deposit WHEN you sign the contract, if it’s possible via wire transfer so there is some record of it and to a Swedish account.
- Verify that the personal information of the landlord (ask for his personal id) is right, they will do the same with you so don’t be afraid to ask.
Hopefully these tips will help you find a good place to live in the beautiful Stockholm.
If you want to share your experience, add more tips or you have a question, don’t be shy and comment!
How to Rent an Apartment in Tokyo: A Cheapo’s Guide
About 15% of what you can see in this picture is available for renting | Photo by jamesjustin used under CC
There’s a wide array of available accommodations in Tokyo, as you would probably expect from the biggest city in the world. If you’ve rented an apartment before in your own country, you might be wondering what is the point of writing a guide about it. You just go to the rental agency, pick a place you like from the available listings, and sign a contract, right? Well… not in Tokyo. I mean, not at all. Even if you have wads of yen spilling out of your pockets and are willing to waste them (a cheapo isn’t), you can’t assume it’s going to be easy and straightforward—especially so if you are a gaijin (foreigner). So, let’s have a step-by-step look at how to get the best possible accommodation, without getting yourself into an unnecessarily expensive contract.
Interested in buying instead of renting? Head over to our sister site REthink Tokyo to get started.
Renting an apartment in Tokyo (or Japan in general) is typically expensive, with the initial set-up fees costing 5 or 6 times that of the rent. The effectiveness of this business model is questionable, since it makes everyone less likely to relocate, but that’s how it works so you need to get used to it. A deposit is almost always required (1-2 months), like anywhere in the world; but be careful, sometimes landlords will do everything they can to keep it while you move out, trying to charge you for any possible repairs or refurbishment. An agency fee is common custom as well, and it’s usually hard to negotiate on it (0.5-1 month). What rockets the moving price to crazy levels are other pointless fees like cleaning fee (nobody gets how cleaning a two-room apartment costs 40,000 yen), “24-hour life support” (what?), among others, together with the key money (1-2 months), which is essentially ‘thank you’ money for letting them rent you the apartment. The last one was introduced at the end of WWII, when the Emperor imposed fixed rent costs in Tokyo to prevent the few apartments left standing from becoming overpriced. Landlords smartly decided to introduce key money, and it’s imposed even now that apartment prices are no longer fixed. Depending on where you are going to live, you might be able to get a nice discount on all of the above. You also have to pay the liability insurance: the agency is going to offer you a plan that’s three times overpriced, but online you’ll get something more reasonable (4,000 yen/year for a small apartment) in 10 minutes. Don’t let them force you into getting the insurance they’re offering—it’s illegal. Finally, you will need to have a Japanese guarantor: companies and universities will probably offer this service for free (or almost free), otherwise the rental agency can do it for you (0.5-1 month). Some of them may force you to use this service from them, and in this case it’s perfectly legal. These are basically all the initial expenses, but keep in mind that every month, together with the rent, you will pay for a maintenance/common expenses fee (0-10,000Yen), that fortunately is always clearly stated on any agency website.
Photo by Matthew Kenwrick used under CC
Short-, Mid- and Long-Term Accommodations
As you probably concluded after reading about the initial costs, paying all all those fees upfront is not worth it if you just plan to stay a few months. Luckily, there are some short-term accommodation options (with no key money) available too: Sakura House, Oak House, Leo Palace are some of the biggest ones. You will get a furnished room or small apartment, without paying crazy fees, and supported by English-speaking staff. However, all of this comes at a cost: the rent is typically going to be about 50% more expensive than standard apartments, so this option is not suggested if you plan to stay for a long time.
While planning a longer-term stay, it’s worth taking some time to find a good and reasonably priced apartment. Gaijin-oriented websites—those you find by typing in Google “rent apartment Tokyo” (or more smartly “rent cheap apartment Tokyo”)—are by far not the best in this case. Less choice and higher prices make them worse than sites aimed at Japanese renters, like Suumo or Chintai—which are in Japanese, but Google Translate is fortunately able to help you if you can’t read it. The disadvantage here is that you will waste some time checking out apartments you will not be able to rent. Why? Because there’s no anti-discrimination law, so landlords are perfectly allowed to not accept foreigners. However, the money you will save with these websites and the related agencies are worth some “sorry no gaijin” calls, when compared to the previously mentioned ones. Lastly, UR (Urban Renaissance) apartments are typically cheaper than average (lower moving cost especially), although availability can be quite limited. Both UR and Suumo actually offer “suicide/deadly accident apartments” (Jiko Bukken) for unsurprisingly reduced prices, typically half of the average cost in a certain area. You will also find out that they are always completely renovated, to make them more attractive. With this option there’s just one thing to consider, are you afraid of ghosts?
Nice towers in Odaiba, surprisingly quite affordable too | Photo by Shibuya246 used under CC
Read how to make your house a (typical) Japanese home.
Best and Cheapest Areas
Living in downtown Tokyo is of course nicer, especially in the Shibuya area. Fortunately, prices vary quite a bit depending on the neighborhood, so if you check our Tokyo rent map, plus this overview of areas that are getting cheaper, to determine budget-friendly zones, you might be able to save some good money. Since trains in Tokyo don’t run 24h, it’s usually nice to live reasonably close to where you like to hang out so you don’t need to worry about the last train, while of course living close to where you work is more convenient and will save you some time every day. Try to find a good balance, it’s usually feasible.
If you have a very limited budget, choose the train line, not the neighborhood. The further out you go from central Tokyo, the cheaper apartments become. And quite a bit actually, especially for the initial cost (much more negotiable). Being on a good train line will mean you’ll be able to leave quite late from central areas—and avoid living near random stations on train lines not connected with nice/poppin’ places.
In both cases, living far from the station will save you a lot of money: Japanese people pay a premium to stay close (5 min), and prices drop considerably while getting further. And since you are not regularly going to the gym (—are you? Well, you have better time management skills than I do) some exercise is not going to hurt you.
«Free houses» in Japan: Where they are and how to get one
Timing, Sharing and Other Tips
To get the best deals, you have to know about ‘moving season’. In Japan, people typically relocate themselves in April, at the beginning of the fiscal year, when you usually get a new job or get assigned to a different company office. Same, but less relevantly, happens in October. This basically means that you should not get your own apartment in these months, or in those immediately preceding them. Agencies are quite optimistic, and they will assume they will certainly be able to fill any of their apartments (although it doesn’t happen at all, Tokyo and the Kanto region have about 15% of empty rooms), so they are not going to be willing to negotiate. Sometimes, it’s much cheaper to stay a little longer in a temporary location to wait until moving season is over.
Sharing apartments in Tokyo is uncommon, to be euphemistic. Even among students it’s much more common to get a single room apartment. There might be many reasons, that we are not going to investigate, but in general if you don’t already know someone who is willing to share an apartment, you’re out of luck on that option. Share houses (like Sakura House we mentioned above) are still quite different to what Westerners are used to, being more similar to hostels. They will typically be relatively expensive, while getting a proper shared apartment with friends can be extremely cheap. Also, larger apartments tend to be nicer than single room ones, having a proper kitchen and so on.
The age of the building is going to majorly influence the rent price. Japanese people, especially those older than 30 years old, are willing to pay more to get a brand new apartment, and this together with earthquakes justifies the demolition-reconstruction cycle you will see everywhere in Tokyo. In general, getting an apartment 10-20 years old (in most countries it would still be considered new) will save you some good money and allow you to live quite comfortably. Older ones (built in the ‘80s) might be lacking a modern look, but many are far from shabby and can save you even more. Note, though, it’s not advisable to get anything built before 1981, when earthquake safety laws became more restrictive.
The more in your wallet, the better | Photo by Japanexperterna.se used under CC
We finally get to the important part: how to get the best deal once you’ve chosen your new apartment. It might be harder or easier depending on where and when you want to move, but there are some points that will work in general.
Main thing, negotiate on the extra fees, not on the rent. If you are lucky you will get a 5% discount on the rent, but key money (free cash given to the landlord while moving in) and many other pointless move-in fees can typically be dropped if you don’t move in in April. Depending on where you are going to settle, you might be able to do away with all of them, except the deposit (check if you will get it back, sometimes it’s just a name for a moving fee) and the cleaning fee that they theoretically paid in advance.
Finally, for some reason every agency has access to every apartment listing in Tokyo. If you’re interested in another agency’s listing, your current agent will certainly let you rent it through them. What happens, though, is that you will need to pay an agency fee to both parties (approx. 1.5 month of the rent’s cost). Speak to different agents, check which apartments they are actually managing, and you will avoid wasting money (which you’ll need later to furnish your apartment!).
Accommodation, Apartment, Beginner, Rent
The Ultimate How to Rent Your First Apartment Guide
You’ve decided that you are ready to be out there living on your own. Whether you’re a recent graduate or you have decided to move out of your parent’s house, this first apartment guide will help you understand how to go about finding and renting your new space.
While renting an apartment, it is important to remember that there are both short-term and long-term costs involved. Long-term costs mainly include rent and utility bills. Short-term costs include application fee, security deposit, and other expenses (e.g. renter’s insurance, utility deposit) that are largely dependent on the landlord. For instance, you may have to sign up for utilities when you rent the apartment, in which case you will need to pay a deposit to the utility company. However, if the landlord has utilities under their name, you will not need to sign up or pay a deposit. Some landlords require renter’s insurance, so that is an additional cost. Other expenses may include pet deposit (or monthly pet fee), annual parking fees, pool/gym maintenance fees, etc. Some landlords require you to pay rent for the first and last month in advance.
It is also important to have some extra cash on hand to manage moving expenses and any other spending that may crop up, Be aware that your expenses will vary from one city to another, and one community to another.
[How to Establish an Apartment Budget]
Criteria & Location
What are you looking for in an apartment? Do you want a studio or a single bedroom? Would you like to be situated near a train/bus station? Write down all the criteria for your ideal apartment, and keep the list handy as you do your search. Websites, like Rent.com, allow you to choose specific filters that narrow your selection and make it easier to shortlist places. All apartment listings are verified and have real reviews from renters, so you don’t have to worry about getting scammed.
If you like a specific neighborhood, check Google Maps to learn about typical traffic and commutes in and around the area. Find out if there are public transport options around. Check out the neighborhood during the day and later in the evening as well. Walk around to get a sense of the area.
[Apartment Hunting Tips for a Smarter Move]
Going on Your First Apartment Tour
Here are some things to check during apartment tours.
- Check the locks on the doors and windows of the apartment (and the door of the building as well), to ensure they close properly. If there is condensation on the windows, they aren’t closed properly.
- Check if the floor is slanted and/or warped in any way, as that could be a sign of a previous or existing leak.
- Another leaky clue: Make sure there are no spots on the ceilings and/or walls.
- Turn on the water to make sure the pressure and color are to your liking.
- Look around for both good outlet locations and livable socket numbers.
- Notice how much natural sunlight the apartment receives. Light has a major impact on your overall mood, so keep an eye out for big windows.
- Try out the appliances. If anything doesn’t work, ask the landlord if they are willing to fix or replace it. Get a confirmation in writing, if possible.
- If you see little holes in the wood floor, it is an indication that bugs likely were there. If you see steel wool stuffed into any crevices, rodents were there. Bring these issues up with the landlord.
- If you have a car, ask about parking availability, security and monthly costs.
While visiting, take the opportunity to ask current tenants you may run into about their experience living at the apartment complex.
After you have found an apartment you like, the next step is to fill out a rental application. As part of the application process, you may need to provide employment info, bank statements, credit score, etc. If you don’t have the best credit, don’t worry. There are ways for you to rent an apartment with bad credit or rent with no credit at all. In some cases, you may be asked to have a co-signer on the lease, especially since this is your first apartment rental.
Make sure you have all paperwork ready and in place, so there are no delays in the process.
When you have the lease in hand, read through it carefully, and don’t be shy asking for any clarification, if you need to. If you want another opinion, get an experienced friend or family member to look through the document. Make sure that you know all the important facts, such as monthly rent due date, on-site maintenance policy, cost of amenities, sublease policy, parking fees, etc.
Moving into your first rental apartment may seem like an overwhelming process, but it is one of the first stages in becoming an adult, so congratulate yourself on making it this far. Once you are moved in and settled, enjoy your new space. And the next time you have to move, you will know exactly how to go about it.
Photo by @CVDOP Limbocker on Unsplash