Being a first-time renter can be intimidating and signing a lease could bind you contractually to a rental for a year or more. You’ll be residing next to people who might be irritating, respectful, or somewhere in between.
You could have responsive property managers or those who take their time to get back to you regarding maintenance issues. It’s tempting to sign a lease on a new rental while mostly overlooking most of its provisions or any possible related issues.
You might think that they aren’t important since it’s a temporary arrangement. However, any factor you overlook could be problematic later. Therefore, it’s imperative you recognize these things before renting.
As a first-time renter, you probably know that you’ll be responsible for your monthly rent, but you can easily forget the upfront costs of renting if you’re new at this. Besides the monthly expenses of rental living, in most cases, you’ll need to pay before moving in or before signing the lease.
Bear in mind that almost every apartment company will expect a security deposit before moving in. This protects the property owner in the event that you damage the unit and skip town. You should get the deposit back provided you don’t do so.
Besides the deposit, you might need to pay the application fees or a month’s rent before settling into your new rental.
While you might not like the idea of assuming another monthly bill, a renter’s policy could prove beneficial in the event that there’s a fire in your complex or a natural disaster hits your rental. Numerous renters incorrectly presume that the landlord’s policy will insure their personal belongings, but this isn’t accurate.
If you think about all the items you own, you’ll discover you can’t afford to replace them all from your pocket. Fortunately, renter’s insurance is affordable-it’s typically $10 or less monthly-and numerous landlords now expect renters to purchase it.
Your Rent Could Increase
If you locate an affordable rental, don’t get too comfortable because rent costs aren’t fixed. Remember rent can increase in two ways:
Signing a one-year lease guarantees your rental rate throughout this period. However, some landlords increase rent payments after this period. Seasoned tenants are familiar with periodic rent hikes, but this can catch you unawares if you’re a first-time renter.
Furthermore, it can affect your personal finances if you’re already strained financially. Plan for hikes by choosing a rental with a rent that’s below your budget, so you can handle future increases.
Every apartment complex differs. With some rentals, the landlord or manager evaluates your revenue documentation once and never obtains additional information. However, if you reside in a revenue-based rental where your monthly revenue determines your rental payments, the landlord might request you to offer copies of your paycheck tube or W-2 on a yearly basis.
Job loss, a reduction in your revenue, and earning a higher salary can influence whether you re-qualify for the rental as well as the amount of your monthly payment.
It’s not Always possible to Remove a Joint Applicant or a Co-signer
It isn’t unusual to have a parent co-sign your lease if you’re a first-time renter and it’s also common for two individuals to rent a unit as roommates. Property owners don’t usually mind if you list numerous people on the lease agreement.
In fact, having several people on the lease helps you qualify because property owners consider both credit scores and incomes. However, your circumstance could change within a year. Your roommate could move out or the co-signer might want his or her name taken off the lease.
If you decide to have a joint applicant or co-signer, understand that you can’t easily eliminate the person from the lease. Bear in mind that every individual that signs the agreement remains responsible for the rental and payments until the end of the lease.
Finding your first apartment can be very exciting. After all, it means living independently with freedom. However, it’s easy to overlook these factors, especially since you’re a new renter. Ensure you consider these things carefully before signing the lease.
For more information on apartment renting, contact us at Apartment Agents or leave a message.