Quick Tip: Make sure you know the difference between what you want and what you need. That great location may come with a stunning view of your neighbor's kitchen. If your neighbor bakes, that's a bonus. If they clean fish a lot, it's a minus. Either way, you need to know what matters most to you. Make a list of your requirements and rank them.
- Money Talks It's a good idea to review your credit report yearly, but not as imperative as TV would like you to believe when filling out an apartment application. Good credit is important but a perfect credit score, not so much. What a property manager really wants to see is that your gross monthly salary is 2.5 to 3 times the rent amount and that you pay your bills on time. Oh, and evictions are bad. Before you begin your apartment search know your budget so you don't waste time. Here are some tips if your credit is (ahem) less than perfect.
- Find Your Best Match At Rent.com, you can search our apartment rental listings by numerous categories including price, city, neighborhood, property type, amenities and pet policy. Cast a wide net over the general area you want to live in and then go from there using your list of ranked requirements to narrow your search. If you are looking for something specific, start your search several months in advance because it could take extra time. On the Rent.com Blog, we put together a list for new grads looking for their first apartment. But anyone can use it.
- Avoid Apartment Double Vision Finding a new place is exciting and you A-types can get carried away by trying to see a dozen in a day. Don't see more than four apartments in a day, they start to blend together. You're better off going to the movies and admiring apartments that don't exist in real life.
- Does this Say Me? When you see your perfect place, don't get googlie-eyed. The appliances, the view, and the price may be exactly what you have been searching for but make sure your new home has your basic needs covered. Are there plenty of outlets, parking, light, water pressure and a cell phone signal? Without these things it may not be as dreamy as it seems.
- Be Aware of Application Fees Always ask if there is an application fee as some landlords charge a fee to run the credit of each adult living in the home. Applying takes time and possibly money so be selective. If you live in a high demand city like New York or San Francisco, you may need to submit an application instantly to secure a place so have your information handy when you visit the property.
- If You Haven't Read It, Don't Sign It While many leases are standard, each has variations especially in regards to pets, rent due dates, late fees and other rules. Make sure you review the lease carefully. Your new landlord may be less (or more) cool than the old one. Rental agreements can be lengthy, so be prepared to take your time. Check out the Rent.com blog to see 10 Things You Should Do Before Signing the Lease
- Give Notice Review your current lease to make sure you are giving adequate notice so you don't lose your rental deposit or incur any penalty fees. Each agreement is unique, but the general rule is to give at least a 30-day notice, in writing.