Renting a good apartment is not an easy task at all. We need to look for lots of things before selecting an apartment. We’re here to help you by telling what you should be looking for when searching for an apartment. Follow the below 10 steps to select your favorite apartment.
1. Is it affordable for you?
In the beginning, you need to set a budget and search accordingly.
It is recommended to keep the rent between 20% to 30% of your monthly income.
For example, if you earn around 4500 per month, you should set the price range 0 to 1300 while searching on Roomster.
It’s a general idea. But you need to think again if you have expenses that can’t be covered with the rest of your income.
So, make a spreadsheet and note down all your expenses. The remaining portion will be the budget for your apartment rent. There are lots of apps or web-based tools to make your calculation easy.
2. What are the requirements?
We know what we like and don’t like in our apartments. As a tenant for many years, you must have a list of things that you don’t want to have in your newly rented room.
For example, you may like to live on the top floor of the building or your preference is the 2nd floor. Maybe parking is a big deal for you or maybe not.
Like those examples, you should make a list of your requirements. When you search for apartments, you’ll get a lot of nice ones. So, you’ll be able to shortlist with a filter of your must-haves.
3. What are the costs?
You have to consider few factors about the cost. The 1st factor is the area of interest. We prefer to rent an apartment near city centers but it’ll be costly. If you’re on a budget, you should stay further from the city center where public transport is available.
The 2nd factor is transportation cost. Living too much further from your workplace can cost you much on transportation. So, search accordingly.
The 3rd factor is having a roommate. If your landlord or landlady allows it, you can look for someone to share the flat. Or you can try roommate wanted advertisements. Roomster already got a section for a roommate wanted posts.
Finally, you should consider government subsidies if you’re a low-income person. Bargain a little to lower the rent. This way, you’ll be able to stay carefree about the rent with your income.
Getting bored? Watch this video to survive as a renter.
4. How about insurance coverage?
Insurance coverage is mandatory for tenants. Because if there’s any damage or break-in during your stay, it’ll cover it. Considering the location and rent amount, the premiums won’t be much. Landlords encourage to make insurance and it’s completely logical.
5. Why check my credit?
It’s no surprise that tenant’s get a background check on their credit history by the landlord or landlady. It’s only done to ensure that you don’t have anything to raise a red flag.
Before you get checked, you can ask for a report by yourself. It’s free for one time each year. This way, you’ll know if you have anything suspicious and fix it.
6. Is there any hidden charge?
It varies a lot for different apartments on utility bills. There are different arrangements for different apartments in different locations.
Ask your landlord or landlady about the utility bills. Also, ask if there’ll be any charges you have to pay once you rent the apartment.
Be clear about fees and deposits. Because those two are completely different things. Fees are not refundable where deposits are. Deposits are taken in case of any emergency situations. But fees are for certain facilities.
Some fees are avoidable if you opt out of the service and some fees are not. But deposits are to be paid upfront. So, add it to your initial renting cost.
7. Where to start looking?
There are tons of ways to look for apartments online and offline. Not all of them are authentic. So, be careful before finalizing your contract. Here’s a list of possible ways to start looking.
- Popular social media platforms
- Listing projects
- Classified ads in newspapers
You must be thinking there are many more websites. Yes, there are. You can use the one you trust. We’ve seen Roomster be user-friendly. Another great thing about it is that you won’t contact the person through Roomster but through Facebook.
8. Am I ready for a down payment?
Now, you need to get prepared for down payments. Usually, landlords take the first and last month’s rent in advance with security deposit.
The security deposit is for the security of the apartment. If the apartment looks like the time you rented it, you’ll get your deposit back. Otherwise, it’ll be spending for the damage being done.
So, always try to save some money in your bank account. It really helps you out while moving from one apartment to another.
9. Do I have the necessary documents?
Check if you’ve prepared the necessary documents you need to show while making the agreement.
This includes a copy of your appointment letter or your current job status printed on a company letterhead, tax returns, and a reference letter from your past landlord.
All these documents will indicate that you’re a good tenant who has no financial problem paying each month’s rent and live civilized.
Generally, those documents are sufficient to convince the landlord or landlady. But if you’re asked some extra documents, provide unless it damages your privacy.
10. Will it do any good talking to previous tenants?
Finally, talking to previous tenants won’t do any harm. They can give you some inside information which you won’t find anywhere else. You can ask them about the landlady or landlord, how it’s like to stay there, any warning, maintenance issues, etc.
If you can’t find the previous tenants, you can always talk to the neighbors. It’s also good to have a nice relationship with your neighbors from day one.
Double check everything and sign
Before you sign the agreement, double check the things mentioned above. Also, check the apartment for anything suspicious. Because if you fail to notice anything major, you’ll suffer when you want to move out. You’ll be charged with the damages you didn’t even know.
- Check if the lights, faucets, bathroom flash and taps, and charging outlets are working properly.
- Look for rodents, check the storage space, cupboards, any chew marks.
- Make sure all door locks are working properly and there’s fire safety equipment.
- Even if it takes time, look for damages on walls and floors.
- If you find anything unusual, take a photo or make a video for further evidence.
- Read the lease carefully. Check if any point is contradictory to the verbal agreement. Also, go for a fixed term lease. But if you’re there for a short time, you should go for periodic lease.
You must be thinking, what am I going to do? There are too many things to check. Yes, there are but it’s okay to make mistakes. It’ll be a valuable lesson and you won’t make the same mistake the second time.
Now, before you go, don’t forget to see this awesome video on renting an apartment.