If you’re planning on moving out on your own soon, you may have concerns about spreading your wings. However, finding housing doesn’t have to be difficult. Unless you’ve been working on your finances and stocking money away this year, you’re probably not ready to buy a home.
So, how do you find the best rental property for your needs?
Before you can search for a new house or apartment, you’ll need to know what you can afford. Most experts suggest that you only spend between 20 to 30 percent of your gross monthly income on a place to live.
However, in addition to rent, you’ll also be paying monthly for trash removal, internet, cable, and utilities. Tally it all up and see what portion of your income you’re comfortable spending for housing costs.
Different people have different needs, so you need to decide which rental features are a must-have for you. You’re likely to live in your rental unit for a long period of time, so you should be comfortable there for the entire lease period. Eliminate properties that don’t meet your requirements. If you need on-site laundry, don’t settle for a unit without it.
You understand best what you can and cannot live without
You should always feel safe in your own home, so look specifically at safe neighborhoods and question property owners about any safety features in the unit. Pay attention to window bars, door locks, and entrances as you tour the property.
Landlords have a right to ask for documentation when you move in to make sure you can afford the property and take proper care of it. They may run a background, credit check and even require you to turn in tax returns or pay stubs as proof of employment. You might also need to provide references from past landlords.
By preparing these documents ahead of time, you can make the rental process move quickly and smoothly.
When you find a landlord and rental property that seem like a good fit, you’ll be asked to sign a legal contract. Before you agree, you should know how long the lease is for, what utilities you’re expected to pay, and what you will be responsible for upon move-out. It’s also smart to document the original condition of the property with pictures before you move in, so you and your landlord can agree later about any per-existing imperfections.
Once you’ve secured your new home, it’s a good idea to buy renters insurance to cover your belongings. While your landlord most likely has insurance on the property, it won’t cover any indoor items. So, protect your valuables, take pride in decorating, and enjoy your new rental.