Moving out of the nest is an exciting journey, but it’s also a tedious one that requires research and sacrifice. Statistics show that many people don’t quite love their first apartment, but this isn’t always true – and it doesn’t mean you should just go with the flow on finding your new home either. To assure your next move is your best move, check out some tips on what you should do ahead of moving into your first apartment.
Know What’s Important For You
Would you prefer to move into an apartment building, rent a floor in a residential home? Are you looking to live alone or with a roommate? Do you need to live somewhere that is train accessible or has parking? Is proximity to major attractions and restaurants important to you?
You can narrow down on your search by filtering out your deal breakers. Just keep in mind that no single place will have everything – and you may have to break some of your deal breakers.
Be Realistic With What You Can Spend on Rent
Ok, you’ve identified what you want in your place, but how does your monthly income align with apartments that encompass all of this? The higher the luxury in location, renovation and space, the more you can expect to spend.
Rent isn’t just about paying for a place to stay. It’s having money for utilities (gas and electric), groceries, and random things you never had to pay for at home like toothpaste and toilet paper.
If you’re unsure of what you really can afford, take a look at your monthly income and create a spreadsheet that breaks down line by line how much you’re spending already and anticipate to spend with your new expenses.
Look At Transportation And Neighborhood Amenities
This goes back to what’s important to you but realistically what you need. If you don’t have a car, then being by a bus or train is going to be important to where you live. But it’s also important to think about how far you are from family and friends, and how close proximity is for you. If you’re further from loved ones, then being close to hangout spots where you can meet new people or hang out may be necessary for you also.
Be Prepared To Move On Short Notice
Renting is usually on a first come, first serve basis. That means that a landlord or real estate agent isn’t waiting weeks for you to decide if you want to rent their place. Don’t stall on making a decision out of fear of not finding the best thing. If you’ve done your research properly, have faith that you’re making the right decision. I was given three days to make a decision on if I was interested in my current apartment. Yup, three days!
Make Sure Your Credit Score Is In Good Standing
Landlords check your credit score and credit history to help them determine how good you are with payments. In high market cities like New York City and San Francisco, your credit score can be crucial factor on if you do or do not get your dream home. Reports say the standard score you should have is 620, however most likely the higher the rent or the higher the competition for rental, the higher your credit score will need to be.
Sometimes our score is low due to missed payments from over two years ago or student loans, so this doesn’t always rule you out for renting. If your credit score is fairly low, then you should have your full detailed credit report that shows what is on your report, and that you’ve been paying bills on time. You can get your report for free from CreditKarma.
Have All Of Your Documents Ready
During the application process, an apartment will typically require a few documents on short notice to determine if you’re approved so it’s important to keep them handy. Documents they typically include are:
- An employment verification letter from your company that stats your job, salary and length of employment
- Your most recent pay stubs
- Your most recent bank statements
- The most recent income tax W2 form
- Copy of photo ID
- A money order to pay for your application
Have Money Saved Away For Rent And Security
Save, save, save! Once you’re approved for your new home, renters do not just want one month’s rent. They want to know you can afford to put down a security deposit for a month’s rent in the case that things don’t work out. And if a broker was involved in your rental process, you’ll need to pay a brokers fee also.
A security deposit and brokers fee are typically both equal to a month’s rent, so times your rent by three to determine how much you need to save for this.
Set Aside Money For Moving Expenses
It’s helpful to have a game plan of the moving process before you actually move. Sure, it seems like we can move into any place on our own or with the help of a family member. But there’s more required in moving that should be taken into account like the cost of packing supplies, renting a moving truck, the mileage cost required, paying for movers, and tipping them even if it’s just family.
Hope this helps!