If ever in your teenage years you mumbled, “I can’t wait to get out of this house,” after an argument with your parents, then you are one of many! Little did we know that sooner than later the time for us to pack and wave goodbye would come and we wouldn’t be as ready as we thought. Finding your first apartment is a rite of passage and it can be very fun, but it also requires a little prep work and lots of saving. You want to be ready when you make the big move, so rely on these tidbits for help.
Search within reason. An easy way to determine the maximum you should pay in rent, according to MyFirstApartment.com, is dividing your monthly take-home income by three or dividing your gross annual income by forty. The end number is the absolute most you should pay in rent each month. If you find an apartment that rents for more than that figure, you know you’re out of budget.
Live below your means. Just because you can afford it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rent it. In the event of an emergency or unsuspected expense (and there’ll be plenty!), you want to have some wiggle room in your funds.
Skip the broker. Do some online research and get out there and visit apartments on your own. Brokers are paid on commission and using one may quickly up the expenses on your end. There are additional fees involved with this route so cut out the middle man if possible.
Note all damages in writing. Before signing your lease, carefully inspect the apartment. Document all damages (broken tile, dents or holes in walls, loose hinges, carpet stains) and have the landlord sign off with a date of repair. It doesn’t hurt to take pictures with a digital camera either so that there’s a date and time stamp proving you are not responsible. This will insure that you are not held accountable for the damages and protect you from having to pay for the repairs. If ever you decide to move and the damages are still not fixed, the documentation will aid in you getting your security deposit back in full without penalty.