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Valuable Tips for a First Time Renter

I don’t think that I’ve ever written a post about renting an apartment or a house. It was never something that I was interested in doing. Yes, having my own space would be nice, but the cost is a turn-off. However, my dream is to build my own home with an adjoining apartment. But, I have a friend who is moving into his own apartment and he asked me for some tips for a first time renter.

Valuable Tips for a First Time Renter

I decided to tackle it from the perspective of what I would be interested in, if I was looking to rent an apartment. These things are not in a particular order, but I think that they are of importance:

  1. Location of the apartment
  2. Monthly rental cost
  3. Security deposit required
  4. Utilities included
  5. Furniture and appliances
  6. Home and contents insurance
  7. Condition of the rental
  8. Repairs and maintenance

Location of the apartment

I do not own a car so choosing where I want to live is critical. I would look for somewhere that is on a reliable bus route.

Monthly rental

My budget would ultimately determine how much I can pay for rent. I would set myself a maximum figure that I am comfortable with and look for apartments within that price range.

Security deposit required

Many landlords request a security deposit which is equal to one or two months’ rent. Ideally I should have this money upfront to give to the landlord.

Utilities included in the monthly rental

I would want to know what utilities, if any, are included in the monthly rental fee. Electricity, water (heat and air conditioning) and cable may or may not be offered by the landlord and you will have to supply your own.

Furniture and appliances

Will the home be fully furnished, semi furnished or unfurnished? If it is semi furnished or unfurnished, I would have to buy furniture and appliance, which is an additional cost.

Home and contents insurance

The landlord should have the property insured against disasters. Will my contents be covered under the home’s insurance or do I have to get my own insurance?

Condition of the rental

Nobody wants to rent a junk box. If the property has to be repaired, how long will it take and will the repairs be done by the time that I’m ready to move in?

Repairs and maintenance

Landlords are usually responsible for all repairs and maintenance of the property.

If the answers to these questions and concerns are acceptable, then I would be ready to begin my life as a renter. I would also advise that there should be a lease agreement which lists the specific details of the rental terms. The lease agreement should contain the majority (maybe all) of the items I listed above.

One word of advice I would give to my friend (in addition to these tips for first time renters) is to make sure that he can afford to move out. He should be able to pay his rent and utilities without any problems. I would advise him to make his rental expense a line item in his budget (if he budgets, sigh) so that he knows that is one thing he can not compromise.