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Five Steps to Your Finding Your First Apartment

A lot of things go into picking your first apartment, and in most cases, making that decision can be quite challenging. There are innumerable options today, which is a good thing as it offers you all the freedom you need to pick something you really want. But what’s a good way to do it without losing your sanity?

Define your wants and needs.

Before you set out to go apartment hunting, know exactly what you want and what you need. Amenities, neighborhood, square footage – when you know things like these, it’s easier to find something that’s right for you. As well, this will help you decide which areas you can compromise on and how this impacts your budget.

Look into timing.

Move-in dates are usually on the first of the month, but in some cases, this could also be mid-month. Remember that May to August is when rentals are busiest, so the best time to start looking for a place is a month earlier. Anyhow, it’s always smart to begin looking when you’re all prepared to make a decision.

Be ready to jump on.

It’s great that you’ve found the apartment of your dreams – now don’t keep it waiting. Remember that the market is extremely competitive so you can’t afford to dilly-dally. There are lots of young people just like you who are also scouting for their perfect first apartment. In short, you have to act fast. Which also means you should be ready with your photo ID, checkbook, Social Security number, and others that the landlord might need from you.

Have a guarantor.

Sometimes, a landlord will require a guarantor (otherwise known as a co-signer), especially for those who have only started working or those with no credit or apartment history. Guarantors for recent grads are often parents, who also have to demonstrate enough financial capacity.

Go through the fine print in detail.

Lastly, before you decide to get a certain apartment, ask the landlord to give you a photocopy of your lease agreement so you can study it beforehand. Certainly, you shouldn’t sign until you have understood every little item on it, especially the lease riders. One increasingly common add-on nowadays is the cleaning fee which applies once you have moved out. Any spoken agreements made with the landlord must be put in black and white too. As you move in, make a report of the property’s current condition with pictures, and send your landlord a copy. You don’t want to pay for issues that were already there before you came.

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