Renting an apartment in any city involves a lot of particulars. Moreover, if this is your first time looking to rent an apartment, then you may have some questions about what sort of things you need to know. For instance, you may be wondering if you absolutely need renters’ insurance or if now is a good time to start looking for an apartment home. Well, the good news is you have come to the right place. Here are some of the most common things you should know when opting to rent an apartment home.
Renting Sight Unseen
For starters, despite the ongoing pandemic, now is the perfect time (the fall) to be apartment hunting. The reason fall is one of the best times to look for an apartment is because peak moving season tends to be in the summer. Furthermore, if you are looking for a college town or in an area close to a college, classes have already started; thus, the rush has died down.
That said, pre-COVID-19, we would never advise renting an apartment without an in-person walkthrough, but clearly, things have changed. As a result, virtual apartment tours, videos, and photos are the safest way to see your future home. Of course, once you have settled on an apartment home or two, by all means, schedule an in-person tour, but you may want to lock down your apartment sight unseen.
Renters’ Insurance Is Not Necessary, But It Is Recommended
For those on a budget, renter’s insurance can seem like an additional expense, but the truth is it never hurts. That said, legally, you are not required to have renters’ insurance, though many apartment complexes make it a stipulation of the lease. Thus, the decision is mute for many. Nevertheless, you should know beforehand what side you are on when it comes to renters’ insurance. We say it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when you can find policies for as little as $15.00 a month.
Furnish and Decorate Your Apartment A Little At A Time
Once you have moved into your new place, it can be tempting to try and get it all done in a few days. That being said, if you are trying to maintain your budget, then you should definitely do a little at a time. All you really need when you first move in are the basics like furniture, your stuff, and so on. Plus, you need time to get used to your new space, so stop all the impulse buying at home décor stores and take it step by step.
Understand Your Rights As A Tenant
It is important that you know and understand what your rights are as a tenant as well. So often, people quickly sign their lease and start planning their move, but as a savvy renter, you need to take the time to thoroughly read your lease before you sign it. Moreover, you should also familiarize yourself with your state’s landlord-tenant laws and the average rental rates in the surrounding area.
The Lease Reigns Supreme
Along those same lines, it is important to remember that your lease is a contract between you and your landlord. It is there to protect both parties and clearly stipulates what is expected of you as a renter. Thus, just in case you were not paying attention the first time, we will say it again—thoroughly read your lease before and after you sign it. This also means putting your lease in a place that you can easily find it, in the event you need to reference it later.
The Current Subletting Policies and Procedures
One instance where you might need to pull out your lease is to find out what your landlord’s policy is on subletting. Most lease agreements clearly lay out whether or not landlords allow subletting. If your lease does not clearly explain the apartment complex’s subletting policy, then you should speak with your landlord or property manager. Other policies that you can typically find in your renter’s agreement include pet, use and enjoyment, late-rent, economic hardship policies, expected increases in rent, plus more.
The Time Of Year You Rent Impacts Your Rental Rate
Yet another important thing you should also know before you select your apartment home is that the time of the year you choose to move-in affects your rental rate. Obviously, there are move-in specials that you can benefit from in the summer or early fall, but it is important to note that rates tend to be higher come winter or spring. This is mainly due to the fact that things tend to slow down during winter and early spring, so just be aware of this little tidbit when you are apartment hunting. Note, speaking of rent, make sure you know the available ways to pay your rent via an online portal, paper check, credit/debit card, etc.
Save Up For A Security Deposit and Move-In Fees
Likewise, saving up for your security deposit and move-in fees in advance makes the entire process less stressful. Of course, if you have to move at the last minute, this might not be feasible or too realistic, but you should still try to save up. Trust us, you will be a lot happier if you have the funds readily available.
Understand The Landlord’s Ideal Lease Duration
While apartment hunting, you should make it a point to know your potential landlord’s lease duration upfront. Usually, most landlords are looking for a year-commitment. However, there are 13-month leases and 2-year rental agreements out there. So, it is important to understand what your apartment complex is looking for. If your ideal lease duration is different than your potential landlord, then save yourself the headache and look elsewhere or see if they are open to negotiating.
What Lease Terms Are Available (Can You Rent On A Month-To-Month Basis?)
During said negotiation, you can also cover what happens once your lease is up. So, if you are interested in a month-to-month lease later on, then you should mention this to your potential apartment complex to see what they can do to accommodate you. This is yet another vital thing to know upfront so that you can choose your future apartment home accordingly. Even if you do not plan to rent month-to-month, you never know when something unexpected may happen, and you will need the flexibility that a short-term lease offers.
You Will Have To Compromise On Some Things, But It Is Okay To Have Non-Negotiables Or Must-Haves
Lastly, you need to be honest with yourself during this whole process. If you want a modern or contemporary apartment but need a short-term lease, or you want an upgraded model with hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances despite the price, then you are going to have to compromise somewhere. With that said, you can still have a list of must-haves or non-negotiables handy. Ultimately, you just need to be realistic when it comes to apartment hunting and what you actually need or want.
These are just a few things you should know when it comes to your future apartment home. So, if you have additional questions or want to learn more about wonderful apartment communities in your area like Botsford Place Terrace Apartments, then just ask. At the end of the day apartment shopping is a process, but there is really no reason you cannot find the unit/home of your dreams, especially if you keep an open mind, save up, and do your due diligence from the start.