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    Apartment Move-In Fees: What to Expect

    1 day ago · · 0 comments

    Apartment Move-In Fees: What to Expect

    No matter if you intend to relocate to an apartment during the winter or summer, make sure your finances are in order to handle the associated costs and prevent running out of money to pay for necessary expenses.

    When renting an apartment for the first time, it is good to know what costs you will incur. It is common for renting to involve more than just making one-time payments for monthly rent, utility bills, and monthly dog fees/cat fees (if applicable).

    Most property managers and landlords require move-in costs paid in full before taking possession of an apartment. So, before signing a rental agreement, establish what the move-in costs are associated with your tenancy. Learn how to review an apartment lease here.

    Apartment Move-In Fees

    When renting an apartment, breaking down your costs can help you prevent any unpleasant surprises. Before moving into your new apartment, you will be required to pay a number of fees between the time you submit a rental application and the time you sign a lease.

    That said, here is a rundown of move-in fees and everything you need to know before moving into your new apartment:

    What is a Move-In Fee?

    A move-in fee is a non-refundable fee that tenants pay before moving in. The fee often covers expenses involved in the repair and maintenance of the apartment before moving in, such as painting and changing door locks.

    Typically, the move-in fees prepare the apartment for you to occupy from the previous tenant. Previously occupied apartments often require a major overhaul to restore them to good condition. This usually requires a huge amount of money to cover the expenses, which could include replacing flooring, painting the unit, and replacing appliances.

    The good news is that the move-in fees are typically less than the security deposits, so the landlord will cover the extra amount needed to repair the apartment before occupancy.

    How Much is a Move-In Fee?

    Move-in fees are typically what is paid on top of the security deposit prior to taking possession of the apartment (security deposits are often equivalent to one month’s rent or one and a half month’s rent). They usually include the first month’s rent, but could also include the last month’s rent as well. So, the amount you will pay upfront really depends on the amount of your rent. In addition, it can also be an application fee, non-refundable pet deposits, and any utilities that the community requires you to pay to them monthly.

    Despite the fact that landlords have the right to set move-in fees at whatever amount they see fit, certain jurisdictions have laws or restrictions on the amount that landlords are permitted to charge. Learn more about Michigan security deposit law here.

    What is the Difference Between a Move-In Fee and Security Deposit?

    A move-in fee is paid to cover the cost of repairing the apartment before occupying it, and is non-refundable. In contrast, a security deposit is a refundable payment you make before moving in that could be used to offset any damages you cause to the apartment while you are a resident.

    After your lease expires and you desire to move-out, the landlord or the property management company will conduct a move-out inspection to determine whether there are any damages caused beyond the normal wear and tear (see what is considered a maintenance emergency in an apartment). If there are any when you move-out, your security deposit will help cover the repair and maintenance. If the total cost of repair exceeds the security deposit amount, you may be required to pay an additional amount.

    Expect to collect your deposit back in full if the landlord inspects the apartment and finds no damages and you paid your rent on time (see how to get apartment deposit back).

    Can You Negotiate a Move-In Fee?

    Yes, you can sometimes negotiate your move-in fees. Some landlords may be open to negotiating the move-in fees, so try your luck and lower your apartment upfront cost. However, it is important to note that not all landlords will agree to negotiate because they want to cover the repair expenses.

    What Can I Expect to Pay as a Renter?

    If you are moving to your new apartment, brace yourself for a range of expenses (read more about what bills come with an apartment here). It includes parking fees and security deposits, among others. Often, it is recommended to save up for up to six months worth of rent prior to moving. This gives you room to cover the upfront costs for apartment renting.

    That said, here is a rundown of expenses you should expect to pay when renting an apartment:

    Rental Application Fees

    When looking for an apartment (rental process), one of the first costs you will incur is a rental application fee. Since they are used to offset administrative fees, such as conducting background checks (rental history, credit history, and so on) when processing your application, they are typically non-refundable. Learn more about how long an apartment application takes to be approved here

    Although a rental application fee is not required, most landlords will not run your application without the fee.

    Security Deposits

    Security deposits are paid upfront before you move into the apartment. Often, it is equivalent to one month’s rent to one and a half month’s rent. Although it is refundable, it is important to review your lease agreement to check the terms that are outlined in order to receive your security deposit.

    Renters Insurance

    Renters insurance is another cost all renters should obtain when renting an apartment. If something of yours was to get damaged in the apartment, like a laptop, renters insurance would help you make up the loss. However, without insurance, you may need to buy it on your own.

    Most landlords require renters insurance before moving into an apartment. Read more about things to do before moving into an apartment here.

    Pet Fees

    If you have furry friends, prepare to pay some pet rent and a non-refundable pet fee. On average, most apartment communities will charge you anywhere between $25 to $50 per month for pet rent. On the other hand, expect to pay anywhere between $100 to $400 for a pet fee (usually a non-refundable fee). Just be sure to read the apartment pet policy for all details.

    First Month’s Rent and Last Month’s Rent

    Many apartment complexes will ask for the first and last month’s rent, on top of the security deposit, prior to moving in. This usually serves as security if you were to terminate your lease before it expires or fail to pay rent during the term of the lease.

    Parking Fee

    If you have a car, expect to pay parking fees as you move into your new apartment. The fees can fluctuate depending on where your apartment is located.

    Utility Fee

    Plan for your utility fees when renting an apartment. The electricity bill is often the biggest of all utility fees. Use LED light bulbs to lower your electricity consumption and save money (Learn more on how to save money while living in an apartment here) on your energy bill. For more tips, see how to lower your electricity bill in an apartment.

    Additional Occupant Fees

    Some landlords charge these for each person living in the unit that is not the lease holder. Be sure to read your lease and see if these are included.

    Final Thought

    For many tenants, moving into a new apartment is an exciting time. If you are not prepared, however, the costs (i.e. administrative fee, security deposit, rental fees, application fees, etc.) can take away that excitement. Understand the cost associated with renting an apartment for the first time and plan your finances. If possible, make a checklist of all possible expenses you may incur. It is better to have a surplus budget than a deficit during the apartment search.

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    Things To Do Before Moving into an Apartment

    1 week ago · · 0 comments

    Things To Do Before Moving into an Apartment

    If you have ever moved into an apartment, you understand how stressful it can be. For instance, the moving process alone is very tiring and costly, especially if you decide to involve a moving company.

    For your apartment move to be successful, there are a few things you need to do; but first, you need to walk through and sign your rental lease.

    This article considers the critical things every tenant should do before moving into a new apartment.

    Things To Do Before Moving into an Apartment

    If you want your apartment move to be successful, keep the following apartment tips in mind:

    Save Money and Resources for the Apartment Move

    If you have ever moved to a new rental unit, you understand the costly nature of the whole process. You will be forced to incur different costs before, during, and after the move.

    For instance, most landlords require you to pay the first and last months rent before the movein. In some cases, you will also pay different movein fees, including application fees, pet deposits, administration fees, and a security deposit (learn how to get the apartment deposit back here).

    During the move, you will have to pay a moving company to help you with the process. Most moving companies charge as per the distance moved. Checkout our list of the top movers in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

    After moving, different utility costs are waiting for you. They include internet, water, gas, garbage, sewer, and electricity costs. In some cases, a renter’s insurance policy is also required. Learn more about what bills come with an apartment here.

    We, therefore, recommend that you save enough money for your moving budget to have an easier time moving. If possible, ask your potential landlord or neighbor for estimated costs for the utilities within the apartment.

    Contact the Current and New Property Manager

    We understand that most tenants moving into a new apartment are just exiting another rental unit (read our guide on how to move-out of an apartment here). As a tenant, notify the landlord in the current apartment of your intentions to move. Let them know that you have no intention whatsoever of renewing the lease.

    You should also let them know when you are likely to move-out so they can prepare your security deposit. This way they can complete a move-out checklist and let you know how you can return the keys.

    After you are done with the current landlord, it is time to contact your new landlord. Let them know the exact moving day and move-in date you have in mind.

    Ensure you ask them the following questions:

    • When will the apartment building be ready for you?
    • Is there enough parking space for your car within the apartment community?
    • Does the apartment have an elevator for moving heavy items?
    • Is paying all the required fees mandatory before moving into the apartment?
    • Does the property manager respond quickly to maintenance requests?

    Be sure you know what to ask when apartment hunting so you are well-prepared.

    Pack Boxes Properly for Easier Transportation

    There is a lot you will be carrying while moving into an apartment. We recommend that you start with collecting the moving supplies. You can track down several free boxes and buy any extra boxes that you need.

    Remember to purchase black sharpie markers, strong packing tape, and packing paper. Ensure that you label all the boxes to track where you kept everything. If you fail to do this, you might be forced to open and sort through the boxes to identify things, like your coffee maker.

    If you do not have boxes, don’t be in a hurry to buy them. In most cases, local grocery stores or movers can offer you boxes for free. Just ask them in advance to be sure about the boxes’ availability.

    While packing, avoid packing the towels from your linen closet. Instead, use them to wrap delicate items and to pad the bottom of your boxes. You can tuck them in empty spaces to prevent delicate items and breakables from shifting in the box.

    For the case of large breakable items, such as a television, wrap them with blankets. You can then ensure the blanket is secure with packing tape.

    If you want small items to remain contained, employ sandwich bags. You might be forced to take pictures of some items during disconnection. This will help you during reconnection after moving into your new rental unit.

    Acquire a Renters Insurance Policy to Secure Your Property

    Most property managers require tenants to have renters insurance (learn if renters insurance is required in Michigan here). We can confirm that it is always a good idea to have one.

    The renters insurance aims to protect your things against fire, theft, or natural disasters. You will be assured of a certain amount of money for your damaged belongings.

    The good news is that the insurance is available for as low as $10 per month.

    If you own renters insurance for your current apartment, just link up with the relevant agent. This way, they can update the insurance to your new address and, if possible, let you know of any price change.

    We recommend taking time to research the available insurers to determine the best one for you.

    Select the Perfect Location

    Every tenant wants to live in a perfect location. However, most tenants do not know that this requires constant research and patience to get a good location.

    The best apartment location is one that is closer to your workplace. If you can’t commute by foot, then it should have quality transportation options, including traffic patterns, parking spaces, and road infrastructure.

    We recommend selecting a place that is nearby quality amenities, such as restaurants, shopping centers, and grocery stores. If you like the environment, go for a green area with quality landscape features.

    Finally, safety and security are very important for your family. At the very least, the location should be free from crime. We recommend renting an apartment with a security system in place. Learn what else you need to know about renting an apartment here.

    Read the Apartment Lease

    The apartment lease is among the most important documents you will ever come across. With most apartments, it is mandatory to sign the lease before occupying the unit. We recommend that you read the lease agreement carefully to understand the landlord’s terms and conditions (learn how to review an apartment lease here).

    You need to fully understand the lease for things like the apartment pet policy, common amenity usage, late rent payment, and monthly rent payment. Seek clarification on apartment maintenance, garbage collection, utility costs, and parking space. If you find certain rules uncomfortable, discuss them with your landlord.

    Contact a Professional to Inspect the Apartment

    It is the wish of every tenant to acquire the best apartment for their family. The truth is that achieving this requires constant dedication and research (learn where to find apartments for rent online here). Before settling on a new apartment, we recommend exploring all the available options within the new neighborhood.

    Have a professional inspector walk through the overall property condition. This includes water damage signs, such as dark spots or crumbling paint. They should also focus on poor upkeep and HVAC issues, among other problems.

    The inspector should guarantee that the apartment is free of pest infestation. Most important is the security considerations. Here, you must ensure the availability of fire escapes, fire alarm systems, and security systems. Checkout our guide on whether hard wired or wireless home security systems are better.

    We recommend that you take all of the pictures and document pre-existing damage. This will help when you want to move out and want your security deposit back.

    Buy the Critical Items Your New Apartment

    You would not want to move into an apartment and lack the basics to make your life comfortable. Therefore, you should check if you have all the required items and buy what you don’t have.

    For instance, there are essential bathroom items that you should have, such as:

    ●     Toilet paper

    ●     Soap

    ●     Toilet brush

    ●     Washcloths

    ●     Toilet bowl cleaner

    ●     Shower curtains

    ●     Toothbrush holder

    Also, you will need:

    ●     Mattress

    ●     Bed frame

    ●     Box springs

    The kitchen must have all the required utensils and items, such as a trash can and coffee table. If possible, purchase new furniture, cleaning supplies, and provide storage solutions.

    Even though your landlord might supply household appliances, such as light bulbs, first aid kit,  and vacuum cleaners, confirm that everything you need is available and in good working condition.

    Hire Movers to Handle the Moving Process

    If you have ever moved to an apartment, you understand how tiring the process can be. It is not something that you can successfully finish by yourself. This is why we recommend seeking help from professional moving companies.

    There are many professional movers who can make your moving experience easy. In fact, they can take over everything from packing items in the current units to transporting in a moving truck; and later, rearranging them in the new rental unit. Consider scheduling movers about 6-8 weeks before the move date.

    Please note, you will have to set aside a lot of money for the moving fee. The amount you will pay depends mainly on what you own and the distance to be moved.

    Organize and Pay for Apartment Utilities in Your New Apartment

    When you enter an apartment, there are different utilities that you will want to enjoy, such as internet, electricity, and gas. Check the lease to determine the utilities that are offered by the landlord and those you are responsible for. Here is a list of apartments in Farmington Hills, MI with utilities included, like Botsford Place Terrace Apartments.

    In many cases, property managers cover both trash and water. However, they leave electricity, internet, and gas bills to the tenant. Expect to pay such bills monthly.

    Final Remark

    Moving into a new rental unit can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the right information beforehand. However, we have made everything easier for you by outlining what you must do before moving into your new rental unit.

    Ensure that you constantly communicate with your new landlord through every step. They can help you have an enjoyable moving experience.

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    How to Review an Apartment Lease

    2 weeks ago · · 0 comments

    How to Review an Apartment Lease

    One of the most important steps when renting an apartment is to review the lease agreement. The paperwork, in theory, defines your stay in the apartment complex, meaning it can either make or break your apartment living experience (learn how to adjust to apartment living here).

    So, before signing the new lease agreement, be sure you understand what you are getting yourself into. Some lease agreements are extremely restrictive, and they may not be what you desire.

    Having said that, many people are unsure of what to look for while reviewing a rental agreement. Knowing how to read a lease agreement might help you avoid the pitfalls many renters face when looking for a place to live.

    How to Review an Apartment Lease


    When going over a lease agreement, take your time and review all of the terms in order to make sure you don’t miss anything. Inquire about any clauses you do not understand with the landlord.

    If you are unsure how to review a lease agreement, here is everything you need to know:

    What is a Rental Lease Agreement?

    A rental lease agreement is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that allows the renter to lease a rental property for a specific time and under specific conditions.

    The lease agreement also states both parties’ responsibilities during the lease period, such as repair and maintenance responsibilities (learn what is considered a maintenance emergency in an apartment here), the property manager’s duties, and explicit measures to take if either party decides to terminate the lease before its expiration date, known as the early termination provision.

    Should I Have a Lawyer Review My Apartment Lease?

    A common question is: “should I have a lawyer review my apartment lease?” The quick answer is yes.

    Have an attorney review the lease, if possible, because it is a legally binding contract that you cannot terminate unless you complete certain obligations.

    Hire an attorney to assist you in review before you sign a lease agreement. In general, not everyone has a legal background, and the legal context inside the agreement may be unclear or difficult to comprehend, which is why seeking assistance is a good idea.

    The expense of hiring a lawyer may be a few hundred dollars, but it is well worth it because the repercussions of breaking a lease agreement could be much more costly.

    Let’s now take a look at which provisions of the lease agreement you should pay attention to:

    Length of the Lease and Monthly Rent

    This clause states the time you are contractually required to stay on the premises, which could be one month, three months, six months, 12 months, and so on. This is not to suggest that you can’t leave before the lease ends if you want to. It is possible to leave, however, you may be required to compensate the landlord in accordance with the early termination clause. Learn how to break a lease without penalty here.

    If you move out regularly, a month-to-month or three-month lease duration may be a good option. This will protect you from having to pay an early termination fee. Many landlords require a 30-day notice if you want to leave. If you fail to do so, you will forfeit your security deposits, which will be used to cover the next month’s rent, and/or you will face the repercussions outlined in the lease for leaving without notice within the specified time frame.

    This is also where you can find out how much rent is each month and what happens if you don’t pay on time. If the landlord wants to raise the rent after a year, he will specify how much the rent increases.

    That said, pay close attention to this section and double-check that the rent amount you agreed on is shown here. If it isn’t, discuss your concerns with the landlord while you still have leverage.

    Rent Payment Instructions

    When and how will you pay your rent dues? All are stipulated in this section. Most lease agreements require rent to be paid on the first of each month. The lease will also outline the grace period if you can’t pay rent by this date.

    The grace time/period allows you to submit your dues as required without incurring late fees. That said, knowing how much the landlord will charge you if you don’t pay your rent on time is crucial.

    Since you may not pay your rent in time for various reasons, it is wise to speak with your landlord ahead of time. You should strive to have a positive relationship with your landlord and always keep the lines of communication open.

    Security Deposit

    The lease will specify the amount of deposit you must pay. This is often one to one and a half months’ worth of rent. For example, if the rent amount is $1,500, your security deposit can be up to $2,250.

    It is important to note that the deposit is always paid upfront, just like renters insurance is required before moving-in (find out if renters insurance required in Michigan?). That said, budget for such charges with a savings of several months of rent before seeking to move-out. Learn more about how to move-out of your current apartment here.

    The security deposit is used to cover the cost of any repairs, upon move-out, that may be required if you damage any of the property’s items. Furthermore, if you opt to break your lease early, the money could be utilized to pay rent. If you are unsure about security deposits, here is everything you need to know about Michigan security deposit law.

    In addition, this section will detail how you can reclaim your deposit. If it is unclear, ask the landlord to explain how to make that possible and include it in the agreement. Learn how to get your security deposit back here.

    Pets Clause: Is it Pet-Friendly?

    Most apartments have pet clauses unless they completely do not allow pets which is becoming more and more uncommon. The apartment community often stipulates how many pets are allowed per tenant, which usually can be found in their apartment pet policy.

    The policy will give terms and conditions in which the pets are admitted into the community. For example, the apartment management may require you to attend a pet interview before moving into the apartment building (here is how to pet-proof an apartment). This is to determine whether or not your pet is aggressive. If it is, it will not be permitted in the community.

    This section will also outline how much you should pay for pet rent and pet fees/pet deposits.

    Additional Fees

    Additional fees may include utilities, trash services, parking fees, and administrative charges, such as third-party billing services (discover more about what bills come with an apartment here). To avoid any surprises, double-check that all additional charges have been captured.

    Deadline for Lease Termination

    How much advance notice are you supposed to give the landlord?

    The lease specifies the time frame you must notify the landlord of your intention to terminate the rental agreement. It could be 30 or 60-days before you move out. For example, if your lease requires you to give notice 30-days before moving out and you only give it 29 days prior, you may be subject to a penalty that includes one month’s rent.

    Ideally, depending on the terms of your rental agreement regarding notices, this could result in you losing your security deposit or incurring additional fees.


    This section outlines who is accountable for which types of repairs and maintenance. The good news is that renters have fewer maintenance responsibilities than homeowners. The landlord normally handles major maintenance tasks, leaving you less to do, which means lower costs.

    Make sure not to rely on word of mouth regarding maintenance responsibilities. If the landlord agrees to handle all maintenance, ensure it is written down or reflected in the lease. In addition, know these apartment maintenance tips so you increase your chances of getting your deposit back.


    If you plan to sublet your apartment in the future, read this section and establish whether it is permitted. Some landlords accept subletting, however this might be difficult because the apartment lease is ideally in your name rather than the new renter’s, making you ultimately responsible. If the new tenant damages the property, you will be liable for penalty charges.

    Do not confuse subletting and lease takeover. Learn what a lease takeover is here.

    Early Termination Provision

    Sometimes moving apartments within a short period of time is unavoidable. If you are aware of this possibility (especially if your work necessitates a lot of movement), talk to your landlord about putting in an early termination provision that works for both sides.

    Working up a clause for early lease termination will help you avoid a never-ending battle with your landlord, which could result in financial losses on your part and hurt your rental history.


    Are you looking for a roommate to share a rental property with? If this is the case, talk to your landlord about whether or not that is OK. Some landlords are hesitant to allow renters to join forces with roommates due to the worry that if one moves out, then the other may be unable to afford the apartment on their own.

    Do you know how to split rent with your roommate? Learn how to do that here.


    The eviction provision specifies what actions the landlord will take if you default on your rent payments. Usually, this clause comes into effect after the grace period has been exhausted.

    In most cases, the landlord will not evict you the day after the clause takes effect, mainly because the court system does not work that fast. Depending on the jurisdiction of the local authorities, the landlord will issue you advanced notice. If you do not resolve the issue, they have the authority to initiate a lawsuit to terminate your tenancy. If the landlord wins the lawsuit, you will be given a window of time to move your belongings from the apartment premises before it can be legally thrown out.

    This is never a good sight for anyone, so it is always a good idea to prepare your budget and keep a cash reserve in case your income is interrupted. In addition, make sure your rental price is not above 30% of your income to avoid overspending or living above your means.

    No Party Zone?

    The only thing that separates you and your neighbor is a wall, and any loud music could be disruptive to other tenants. Determine whether the apartment allows parties and, if so, within what time period the gathering is authorized.

    Noise complaints are prevalent in apartment buildings. If you are on the list of repeat offenders, you could risk penalties and eviction if your lease terms support it.

    Tips for Reviewing Your Lease Agreement

    Now that you know how to review an apartment lease, here are a few more pointers to consider:

    Allow for Plenty of Time

    Rushing through a lease agreement is never a smart idea since you may miss out on some of the most important details that will affect your apartment living experience. That said, go over the leasing agreement when you are not in a rush to get everything covered.

    Ask Questions for Clarity Purpose

    Know what to ask when apartment hunting. Ask questions about any clause that looks ambiguous or seems difficult to understand, as the landlord should be aware of everything written on the agreement. Skipping clauses because you did not understand them may cost you money in the long run.

    Prioritize Reviewing the Lease with the Landlord

    If you wish to go through the lease, it is best to do it with the landlord right there with you. This will help you understand any provisions that are unclear to you and make it easy to ask any questions that you deem necessary.

    Tying it All Together

    A lease agreement is a binding contract that requires careful consideration before signing it. Understanding the lease’s terms will help you avoid future conflicts with the landlord. Take your time, be patient, and only sign if you feel absolutely comfortable.

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    What Bills Come with an Apartment?

    3 weeks ago · · 0 comments

    What Bills Come with an Apartment?

    Moving into an apartment might be an exciting time, especially if you are a firsttime tenant. The price tag, on the other hand, can be a bit scary. It is not simple to adjust to apartment living, including all of the costs that come with it.

    If you are used to residing with your parents, you might be surprised by some of the costs.

    Rather than being surprised by all the bills that come with apartments, prepare and familiarize yourself with what you will be liable for. Understanding your bills in advance will assist in planning a monthly budget. That said, break down your budget and do your best to keep track of where every dollar goes.

    The good news about apartment renting is that if your monthly expenses appear to be excessive or exceed 30% of your monthly income, you might want to consider sharing an apartment with a roommate. With that in mind, let’s find out what kind of costs you should expect when renting your first apartment.

    What Bills Come with an Apartment?

    100 Bill

    Typically, you should budget for the first month’s rent, a security deposit, pet rent (if applicable), and relocation expenses, among other things. Many apartments are pet-friendly and will allow you to pay a pet deposit in installments.

    Consider reviewing your personal finances and making plans for everything. For example, knowing how much you spend each month on groceries, renter’s insurance, or any other housing expense is critical.

    So, let’s dive in and discuss bills that come with apartments in detail.

    Rental Application Fee

    Before signing the lease agreement, the first step is to fill out a rental application (required by most property management companies), which the landlord/property manager will review to see if you satisfy the apartment community’s requirements. Learn more about how long it takes for a rental application to be approved here.

    Often, the rental application will cost around $35 on average. It may appear to be a small fee, but it adds to a substantial figure when combined with other living expenses.

    Security Deposit Fee

    Typically, security deposits are equal to one month’s rent (usually part of the apartment upfront costs). It is frequently used to cover any damages you do to the apartment while you are staying there. If you want it back, you must take care of the apartment and leave it in as good of shape, if not better, than when you first moved in, except for regular wear and tear (consider reviewing your lease agreement). Learn more about how to get an apartment deposit back here.

    The easiest approach to eliminate security deposit surprises is to budget for six months’ worth of rent; this will also double as an emergency reserve for your household’s needs.

    Pet Deposit and Pet Rent

    If you have four-legged friends, you will need to budget for a pet deposit and rent. On average, most apartments need a $250 to $300 one-time pet deposit and around $25 to $30 for pet rent every month.

    It is important to remember that many apartments have pet restrictions and fines for breaking them, which could result in you paying extra money. To avoid any penalties, please be sure to read and understand the apartment pet policy.

    If you are in need of a pet-friendly apartment, learn how to find apartments that allow dogs here.

    Moving Cost

    Moving to your next apartment will cost you money. The amount will be determined by the distance, the size of the home belongings, and whether or not you will hire workers to assist you.

    Plan on moving during the winter when fewer people are relocating, lowering the logistics demand. In addition, winter months often experience low rental prices, so not only will you spend less moving, but you could get discounted rental prices too. Checkout our tips for moving into your first apartment.

    Monthly Rent

    How much rent are you comfortable paying each month?

    This is another bill to keep in mind. In fact, you will need to plan for several months of rent before moving in (typically six months). Renting apartments that cost more than 30% of your monthly income is never healthy financially. That said, negotiate for a lower rental price to save more money, if possible.

    If you want to save money, again, consider renting during the winter months because demand for property is usually low during this time of year, and most landlords would rather negotiate a lower rate than have an empty apartment. Learn more about how to save money while living in an apartment here.

    Renter’s Insurance

    Most landlords demand renter’s insurance, so consider purchasing one to protect your personal belongings in the event of theft or damage. If you live in an area where natural disasters, like hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes, are common, purchasing insurance to insure your home will save you money. Typically, renter’s insurance will cost you around $159 per year or $13 per month, on average. Learn if renters insurance is required in Michigan here.


    Living in apartments offers you a range of amenities you may not get in private homes. These amenities may include a swimming pool, fitness center, and clubhouse. Sometimes, the apartment complex charges you a fee to access these amenities. The cost of amenities may be included in your rent or charged separately.

    That said, establish whether the fee is included or not. Nevertheless, make plans accordingly if you want an apartment with such amenities available.

    Trash Pickup

    Most apartment complexes provide trash pickup, meaning someone will come collect your trash while you focus on other things. Although it offers convenience, that comes at a cost. Talk to your landlord about the charges. In apartment complexes, trash pickup can cost around $8 to $15 per unit.


    In apartment communities, the parking lot is sometimes a source of contention among tenants. This is the case especially when there is unassigned parking. If the apartment offers parking space, establish how much it costs monthly and plan for the annual cost. On average, parking can cost you $200 per year.


    Many apartment complexes offer Wi-Fi services; all you have to do now is sign up for it (look for the utility providers/utility companies). With the rise of the work-at-home lifestyle, having an internet connection now appears to be a prerequisite.

    According to Nerdwallet, in 2020, the average internet bill was between $47 and $69 per month, depending on the internet package.

    It is easier to save more money by comparing the pricing of different utility providers. Consider signing up to providers with discounts.

    Electric Bill

    The electric bill is usually one of the significant bills in apartments. Heating and cooling your apartment will cost you extra money; in fact, heating bills and cooling bills typically account for about half of your energy bill.

    In 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that Americans’ average monthly electricity costs were $117.46, up from $115 the previous year. The heating and cooling costs vary depending on the floor plan. For instance, the heating costs and cooling costs of a one bedroom apartment are likely to differ from that of a single-family house.

    TV/Streaming Services

    Although this is not a must-have service, the rise of work-from-home possibilities has prompted many people to subscribe to streaming services, like Netflix, in order to break the monotony. Subscriptions are frequently charged on a monthly basis. Plan your budget and determine whether you can afford this expense every month.

    Water and Sewer Bill

    Water and sewer can be billed directly to you or the apartment community, where the landlord will distribute them to each unit.Tenants then must include them in their next rent payment.

    On average, a water bill will cost about $39 monthly, but this depends on your water usage. Sewer is often a percentage of your water usage bill.

    Phone Bill

    According to CNBC, the average cell phone bill costs around $127.37 per month. However, you may lower your phone bill by switching carriers. Although switching carriers may be expensive upfront, if it saves you money in the long run, it is worth the cost.

    Should Landlords or Tenants Pay for Apartment Utilities?

    If you reside in an apartment, your landlord will most likely take care of the sewage bill, while you will be liable for the energy, water, and trash bills, among other things. Before signing your lease agreement or rental agreement, go over it again to make sure you understand what kind of utility costs you will be responsible for.

    How to Make a Budget

    Budgeting your apartment bills will help you remain on top of your payments so you don’t miss out on anything and end up paying the penalty.

    Here are some recommendations for budgeting your monthly payments while renting an apartment:

    Know Costs and Dates

    Knowing the cost of each item is the best method to budget for your rental expense. For instance, if you are dealing with pets, calculate the monthly cost of the animal and project the annual cost.

    Make a Calendar

    Make a schedule for paying your expenses and add it to your calendar. It is easy to forget to pay rent or other bills, especially if it’s not automated. Google calendar offers a reminder feature that you can use to avoid penalties for late payment.

    Payment history accounts for roughly 35% of your credit score (credit history), so paying bills on time will help you improve your credit score. Learn more about what credit score you need to rent an apartment here.

    Try to Build an Emergency Fund

    It is always a good idea to have an emergency fund. This could assist you in resolving any financial issues if your income source is interrupted or if catastrophe strikes.

    Overestimate Costs

    Overestimating bills will help you avoid a budget deficit by allowing you to have a budget “spill over.” For example, if your electricity bill costs $120 per month, estimate it to be about $150 per month. However, this entirely depends on how you consume energy.

    How to Keep Your Utility Costs Low in Apartments

    Utility costs account for a large portion of your monthly rent costs, and lowering them requires understanding some utility consumption tips and tricks.

    That said, here are some tips you can use to lower your utility bill:

    Unplug All Appliances When Not in Use

    If your appliances are not in use, unplug them from the wall socket. This will help you avoid paying unnecessary bills. Appliances, such as ovens and cookers, consume a lot of energy.

    Use Energy-Efficient Bulbs

    Incandescent bulbs are the most inefficient light source, consuming a lot of energy and having a shorter lifespan than LED bulbs. Incandescent bulbs have a lifespan of roughly 1,000 hours, whereas a 15-watt LED bulb has a lifespan of around 25,000 hours. Prioritize investing in LED bulbs to lower the energy bill. Learn more on how to save energy in an apartment here.

    Regular Maintenance of HVAC System

    If you go awhile without repairing your HVAC system, you may end up with a large bill at the end of the month. If you see a sudden increase in your energy bill despite consuming the same amount of energy as normal, your HVAC system is the most likely culprit. Request that your property manager/apartment management has a look at it and identify the problematic HVAC parts.

    Fix Your Door and Windows

    If your apartment lets in air through under-door spaces, like your windows, you may have a high energy cost. Visit a local hardware store and buy an air sealant; it’s a small price to pay compared to the energy bill.

    Final Thought

    The cost of your rent is not the only bill to be concerned about when living in a rental, which is why it is important to be aware of the full spectrum of bills that come with apartment renting. In a nutshell, apart from the rental price, here is what you should remember to budget for when renting an apartment:

    • Security Deposit
    • Pet Rent
    • Pet Deposit
    • Renter’s Insurance
    • Electric Bill
    • Gas Bill
    • Amenities

    The most important thing to do is review your lease agreement/rental agreement and confirm all associated fees before signing and moving in. If the bill appears to be a little overwhelming, find a roommate to split the bill and still enjoy the perks of the apartment community. If this is the route you choose to pursue, you will need to learn how to split up rent with roommates.

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    How Long Does it Take to Tour an Apartment?

    4 weeks ago · · Comments Off on How Long Does it Take to Tour an Apartment?

    How Long Does it Take to Tour an Apartment?

    Browsing online and viewing virtual apartment tours are both excellent ways to find your new apartment, but they will not provide you with a complete picture of the property or its surrounding areas. This is why you should always make apartment tours a top priority while looking for a new home.

    Virtual apartment tours will not provide you with all of the information actual in-person apartment tours provide. However, you, like many others, may be concerned about how long a tour will take when looking for an apartment, right?

    How Long Does it Take to Tour an Apartment?

    apartment tour

    An apartment tour takes anywhere from 30 minutes to about an hour, on average, but it may take longer if you have additional questions for the property manager to answer. That said, the more concerns you have regarding the apartment, the longer your tour will be. However, it is often good to make sure the property manager addresses your concerns before signing the lease agreement.

    Apartment tours can take much longer if you are not prepared, which is why it is recommended that you plan ahead of time. This entails, among other things, formulating your inquiries in a clear and specific manner and determining the number of apartments to visit. This is why you need to know what to ask when apartment hunting.

    In addition, making an apartment checklist of items to keep an eye on will help you save time that you would otherwise spend being unsure if you have covered everything.

    How Far in Advance to Book an Appointment for an Apartment Tour?

    Generally speaking, an apartment tour can be scheduled days or weeks in advance. However, if the apartment is brand new and/or in high demand, you should schedule your apartment tour as soon as possible.

    How Many Apartments Should You Tour?

    Most people look at two to three apartment complexes before making a decision. However, it is often dependent on individual tastes and preferences. For example, some people may visit up to 10 apartments in a single day before deciding on their future residence.

    Please note that it is crucial to spend enough time viewing an apartment to ensure that everything is in working order before paying a security deposit or any other form of payment. Be sure to ask the property manager to resolve any issues you have regarding the apartment.

    What to Look Out for During an Apartment Tour

    As previously stated, the way you prepare for your apartment tour can make or break your experience. Make a list of items to keep an eye out for when viewing the unit.

    If you have no idea how to go about it, here are ideas for an apartment tour checklist that you can use:

    Modern Living Room

    You want to make sure that the new living room is large enough to meet your needs. A larger living room is necessary if you have oversized furniture; otherwise, you will wind up with a cramped space in which you can hardly walk around. Learn how to maximize space in an apartment here.

    Check the locks on the front door to see if they are in good working order. If the apartment has already been occupied before, check to see if the floor is sturdy and free of buckled-up tiles. Another item to look at is the walls. Are there any cracks in the walls? Are the walls and paint in good condition?

    Also, check the lighting. Turn on and off the light switches to ensure they are in good working order.

    TIP: Apartment buildings with natural lighting will help you save money on your energy bills because you will not need to use the lights throughout the day. Having said that, check to see if the windows are large enough to allow more light in. Find out other ways on how to save money while living in an apartment here.


    You want to make sure your kitchen is up to the challenge because it is likely one of the most used rooms in your apartment. Whether you like a closed or open kitchen layout, the most important thing is that it be functional.

    It is nerve-wracking to move into an apartment and then schedule a repair request the next day. Scrutinize every part of the kitchen, including the cabinets, the sink, and the appliances to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Also, be sure to examine whether there are any leaks in the plumbing.

    For cabinets, open them and determine if they have enough space to accommodate your utensils. A larger kitchen is also a bonus for an apartment, but if space is not a concern, at least ensure the items stated earlier are in working order.


    The bathroom is another place where leaks are common. Check to see whether there is any faulty plumbing. Also, check the water temperature and water pressure; some units experience low water pressure, which could be daunting when taking a shower.

    If everything is working to your liking, move on to something else. Flush the toilet and check whether it is functional. If it is not, ask the property manager to fix it.

    Another thing to consider is the size of the bathroom. You do not want to feel cramped while showering.

    Everywhere Else

    Everywhere Else

    Does the apartment have an on-site laundry room or in-unit laundry machines? If this is a concern to you, make sure you choose one that fits your needs.

    If you have a car, you want to make sure the apartment has an assigned parking spot, or at least ample parking. This is because unassigned parking sometimes can be chaotic and you may end up parking far away from your unit or on the street.

    Of course safety is important, too. Check to see whether the apartment has a smoke detector. Is there a surveillance system in place at the apartment building? Also, make sure the apartment complex has fire extinguishers. If the apartment does not have a fire extinguisher, ask the property manager to explain.

    The circuit breaker panel in the apartment is another thing to look at; does it appear to be secure? Generally speaking, if you don’t think it is safe enough, let the property manager know and they should make the necessary improvements.

    Check the power sockets and make sure they all have power. If there are any faulty sockets, ask the property manager to replace them.

    Is the thermostat working? Keep an eye on this as well. Also, check the window A/C unit or central air conditioning to make sure it is functional. How about the ceiling fans, are they working?

    Another thing to watch out for is the property manager’s behavior. If it is in a landlord’s character to be stubborn, you can’t change it; it’s better to look elsewhere. This is the reason why you should also talk to other residents about their rental history or experience and get their feedback about the landlord in general. If there are an excessive number of complaints, it is a sign that you have come to the wrong place.

    Lastly, it is crucial to know the crime rate of the surrounding buildings. If neighbors complain about their belongings being stolen, that should be a red flag that the area is not safe.

    Questions to Ask During Apartment Tour

    Make sure you know what to ask your prospective property manager before going on an apartment tour. This is the time to become acquainted with the rules and regulations of your apartment complex and the surrounding neighborhood.

    Consider the following on your apartment tour:

    1. What are the terms of the lease agreement?
    2. What is the rent price?
    3. Are utilities included in the rent?

    *Some apartments include utilities in the rent, so be sure you know what kind of utilities you will be liable for when you pay your rent. Ask the property manager to clarify the utilities included. Also, read our guide on how to find apartments with utilities included.

    1. Is there a grace period for rent payment?
    2. When is rent due and how will you need to pay?
    3. How often will the rent be raised, and by how much?
    4. Is the actual unit/apartment community pet-friendly? Is there an apartment pet policy?

    **If you have pets, you may want to make sure the apartment allows pets, and if there are any restrictions. The property manager should notify you in advance before paying a security deposit, one month’s rent, and signing the lease agreement.

    1. Is there a break-lease clause?

    ***You should get this straight from the property manager, and you should know the cost of breaking your lease before you sign it. However, there are always exceptions, such as active military service and domestic violence, among others. It is good to have a conversation about this provision with the property manager as well.

    Things You Should Never Do while Touring Apartments

    As terrifying as it may sound, you should never do certain things while touring apartments. This will make your apartment tour run more smoothly, while also saving you time and money.

    Here are some of the things you should not do when touring apartments:

    Do Not Forget to Bring Measuring Tape

    Measuring tape is a must-have piece of equipment because, for instance, you will want to make sure the living room space is big enough for your furniture. If you do not have one, visit any local hardware store and buy one. It will cost you less than $20.

    Do Not Arrive Late to the Showing

    Do not turn up late in the evening if your booking is for the morning or midday. Property managers or leasing agents are always on the lookout for red flags, and showing up late can get you in trouble. Be punctual, you want to give a good impression, especially if the apartment is high on your list.

    Do Not Come without Questions

    It is a huge mistake to show up at the landlord’s door without questions pre-prepared. If you fail to do so, you may miss critical information that could cause you to break the apartment’s rules once you move-in, or you could miss critical details that may affect your apartment living experience. Also, an apartment tour takes longer when unprepared.

    Spend some time figuring out everything that could have an impact on you as you adjust to apartment living, then create a list of questions based on your findings.

    Do Not Assume Cell Service will be OK

    Most people overlook the cell service because of the assumption that it will work perfectly as it should. Well, do not make that mistake! Make sure everything works before you leave the apartment.

    Final Thought

    Although an apartment tour takes typically 30 minutes (sometimes at least an hour), proper planning will help you spend less time viewing the apartment while still getting what you need.

    During the apartment tour/apartment hunt, be on the lookout for a rental scam or fake apartment listing. If the property manager or leasing office/leasing agent asks you to pay to see the apartment, it is most likely a ruse. Do not move forward with such apartment listings.

    Fake apartment listings are common in the rental market, and, therefore, being aware of the red flags will help you navigate the market without losing a dime. According to an analysis by Apartment List, 43.1% of Americans have come across or been victims of a rental scam (this includes phantom rental scams). So be careful out there and happy apartment hunting.

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    Why Renting an Apartment is Better than Owning a Home

    1 month ago · · Comments Off on Why Renting an Apartment is Better than Owning a Home

    Why Renting an Apartment is Better than Owning a Home

    For many Americans, owning a home is the ultimate dream, but that does not imply it is suitable for everyone. That is because purchasing a home is a longterm commitment that necessitates a significant financial investment.

    Having said that, whether your lease is coming to an end, you are looking for your first apartment, or you are considering buying a home, all of these decisions influence your finances and should be carefully considered.

    If you are thinking about spending money on a home, you must ask yourself several questions, which includes, but is not limited to:

    • Is there enough money in my account to cover a down payment?
    • Is my monthly salary steady enough to cover the mortgage in the near future without going into default?

    If you answered no to either of these, renting an apartment might be the best option for you because it makes financial sense.

    Renting an Apartment is Better than Owning a Home

    less expensive

    Renting an apartment is less expensive than buying a house, even though it may cost a few thousand dollars to pay for a security deposit, one month’s rent, and a rental application fee to move-in to your new apartment.

    In addition, you won’t have the same maintenance chores as a homeowner, which means you will have more time for leisure and other pursuits. So, if you are debating whether to rent an apartment or buy a house, we are here to provide you with all the reasons you should choose the former.

    Here are the reasons why you should consider renting an apartment rather than buying a house:

    ● Less Costly: Fewer Upfront Cost

    ● No Maintenance Costs or Repair Bills

    ● Less Time Commitment to Cleaning and Other Home Maintenance Duties

    ● No Property Taxes

    ● You Do Not Need to Carry Mortgage Debt

    ● More Freedom and Flexibility as to Where You Live

    ● Flexibility to Downsize if Desired or Needed

    ● You will have Lower Utility Costs

    ● No Worrying About Decreasing Property or Home Values

    ● Access to Amenities

    ● Renters Insurance is Much Less Expensive than Homeowners Insurance

    ● Homeowners Association Fees Generally are Not Your Problem

    ● You will Build a Sense of Community

    Less Costly: Fewer Upfront Cost

    Renting a home requires less financial commitment than buying a home. To be safe, you should save up for six months worth of rent, a security deposit, a rental application fee, a pet deposit if applicable, logistics costs, and other miscellaneous fees.

    We recognize that apartment hunting involves spending potentially a few hundred dollars, but this is a small price compared to housing prices. A home requires 20% of the home value as a down payment. For example, if the house sells for $200,000 (purchase price), you will have to pay $40,000 as a down payment, which is a significant sum to pay upfront. In addition, the closing costs for buying a house are also another expense to incur.

    That said, if you are on a tight budget, renting an apartment within your price range is a better option than buying a home.

    No Maintenance Costs or Repair Bills

    Landlords are responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the apartment. They always have emergency contacts or online platforms to send your repair requests through. However, to avoid confusion about who will pay for repairs and maintenance, you should always review your apartment lease agreement and seek a provision stating who will pay for them. Find out what is considered a maintenance emergency in an apartment here.

    In a home, on the other hand, you are responsible for everything, including repairs and maintenance. This means that if something breaks, you must bear the cost of repairing it. Furthermore, it is up to you to find reliable plumbers, electricians, cleaners, or lawn services. Many apartments have all of these services vetted for you, so you won’t have to worry about whether or not the plumber will show up or if they will do a good job.

    Less Time Commitment to Cleaning and Other Home Maintenance Duties

    Learning how to adjust to apartment living lets you focus on more essential things rather than worrying about who will mow the grass or fix the lighting or plumbing. Apartment buildings have designated plumbers and electricians to respond to any emergency requests from tenants, which is more difficult if you live in a home because you have to find reliable tradesmen yourself.

    The allure of owning a home and living the American Dream might cloud your judgment, causing you to overlook the fact that cleaning your apartment takes a fraction of the time it takes to clean a home.

    If you cannot clean the home yourself, hiring someone to do it is another option that will cost you a few hundred dollars, but make more sense.

    No Property Taxes

    If you rent an apartment, you do not need to pay property taxes. Property taxes are the unit owner’s responsibility. Most aspiring home buyers/potential buyers ignore the property taxes and homeowner’s insurance expenses when they initially purchase, which can quickly add up to a significant financial burden if not planned for properly.

    You Do Not Need to Carry Mortgage Debt

    Mortgages are frequently thought to be good debt; however, this is not totally accurate. Even if you are building equity over time, the monthly mortgage payment (considering mortgage interest) can be burdensome if your income is not consistent. If you want to build equity, that is fine, but defaulting on a mortgage can result in losing the property entirely.

    For your information, equity is the difference between your home loan balance and what you can sell your own house for in the current housing market. If you want to sell your house fast, head over to

    Renting an apartment relieves you of the burden of mortgage payments; all you have to do is pay your rent on time. Even if you fail to pay, the worst that can happen is that you will be evicted, which is a minor inconvenience compared to losing your own home that you may have invested thousands of dollars in.

    More Freedom and Flexibility as to Where You Live

    The best thing about renting an apartment is the freedom to live wherever you want. You can move at any moment if necessary or if you desire something that a home may not provide.

    Rental properties can easily be found near an affordable city, unlike homes where you may have to live in the suburbs, or maybe another option could be expensive townhouses. If you need to relocate for work or a change of scenery, you may have to break your apartment lease. If you live in a house, though, you may need to sell it first before thinking about relocating.

    Flexibility to Downsize if Desired or Needed

    It is simple to downsize when you live in an apartment, whether it is for financial reasons or simply to be more of a minimalist. The first reason is that you have fewer household things in comparison to other people living in homes. Secondly, it will cost you less to downsize in an apartment than in a home. Find out how to downsize from a house to an apartment here.

    You will have Lower Utility Costs

    One of the biggest perks apartments have over homes is the utility bills. Most apartment tenants pay lower utility bills compared to those living in homes. For example, heating or cooling a larger home will consume a lot more energy than heating or cooling a 1,000 sq. ft. apartment. This implies spending more money on energy in homes than in apartments. Learn how to lower your electric bill in an apartment here.

    Furthermore, some apartments include utilities in the rent, so you don’t have to worry about them once you have paid your rent. Check whether utilities are included in the rent while you are looking for an apartment. If they are, figure out which utilities you will be liable for and which the landlord will cover. Learn how to find apartments with utilities included here.

    No Worrying About Decreasing Property or Home Values

    Whether the apartment complex loses or gains value makes no difference to you as a unit renter. When a homeowner’s property value drops, however, he stands to lose a lot of money and has a lot to worry about the selling price/asking price.

    For example, if a home is worth $300,000 and the value drops by 20-25%, the homeowner will lose up to $75,000. However, if your apartment lease agreement specifies that your rental payments as $2,500 each month until it expires, you will pay that amount regardless of the property’s value increasing or decreasing.

    Access to Amenities

    Most apartment complexes feature a variety of amenities that you would not get in a home. For example, you may get access to a swimming pool, clubhouse, fitness center, and/or playground, among others.

    If a homeowner wants to enjoy the same benefits, he will have to construct a swimming pool or a fitness facility, in most cases, which can be expensive. Besides, the cost of maintaining such amenities is equally high; hence any extra amenities will result in higher maintenance costs. On the other hand, the landlord is responsible for maintaining the swimming pool and other common areas in apartments.

    Renters Insurance is Much Less Expensive than Homeowners Insurance

    Homeowners must have insurance coverage, which is far more expensive than what most renters pay. Renter’s insurance is often cheaper and covers almost everything, including computers and furniture, among other household items.

    According to a report by the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of homeowners insurance is $1,249 per year, while the average cost of renter’s insurance is $179 per year.

    Homeowners Association Fees Generally are Not Your Problem

    Although it may appear crazy, homeowners association fees in some neighborhoods may be substantially costlier. According to, on average, homeowner’s association fees (HOA fees) run around $200-$300 per month (monthly payment).

    When you factor in monthly house maintenance, utility bills, homeowner’s insurance, and mortgage payments (monthly payments), you can see how costly owning a home can be. If you rent an apartment, homeowners association fees will not be any of your concerns or worry.

    You will Build a Sense of Community

    Living in a rental property lets you interact with other people who share your interests and gives you a sense of belonging. In comparison to living in a home where your next-door neighbor is a little more ways away, the proximity between you and your next-door neighbor in apartments improves the likelihood of interactions due to sharing common grounds.

    Things to Consider when Renting an Apartment

    Now that you understand the financial benefit of renting an apartment as your primary residence, you should use some tips when searching for an apartment, such as:

    ● Home’s Location: The Proximity of the Apartment to Nearby Amenities

    ● Estimate Your Rental Budget

    ● Pet-Friendliness of the Apartment Community

    ● Natural Lighting

    Always Make the Best Choice

    In conclusion, renting an apartment is the best choice compared to home buying. If your income is irregular (financial situation) and you move around a lot, renting an apartment will help you save money and offer more flexibility.

    Comparing renting versus buying a home, renting wins! It is even less costly to pick home renting rather than the actual purchase (home ownership). Although homes bring a sense of stability and some tax deductions along the way, the aggregate cost is way higher than that of an apartment.

    It is important to prioritize financial health by renting an apartment rather than purchasing a property that might suck you dry and leave you in financial distress.

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