Mistakes for First-Time Renters to Avoid

When it comes to renting for the first time, you are more prone to fall prey to certain mistakes.

When it comes to signing a lease, you are signing a legally binding document. It is important to do the research and understand what you are getting into before signing.

In the event you break your lease, it often results in serious consequences for renting in the future. Common mistakes first-time renters make include failing to read the lease entirely and not touring the unit before signing a lease.

Other mistakes include a failure to take out rental insurance or thoroughly researching all costs of an apartment. After all, monthly rent is just one cost. Utilities, groceries, and other expenses are all added onto the base price of an apartment.

Some properties include utilities in the cost of the rent and others do not. For more information on what some common mistakes are for renting, check out the following topics.

Not Touring Your Apartment Beforehand

If you have spent a lot of time researching places to live and finally narrowed it down to a list, always view the apartments first. Many times, even if you tour the apartment complex, you are only shown the viewing unit. It is crucial to ensure the unit you are moving into is exactly like the show unit.

It is not uncommon for the viewing apartment to be nicer than the ones tenants move into. Always ask if it is possible to view the exact unit you are going to move into. Consider the amenities of the apartment and determine if those amenities are worth the price figured into your rent.

The more amenities in an apartment complex, the higher the rent. An unfurnished apartment is cheaper than a furnished one per month.

When you move into your rental space, document absolutely everything. Take pictures of each room and note the damages on the damage sheet provided. You do not want to be responsible for paying on damages you did not incur.

Even if small scuffs are found on the floor when you move in, take note of this issue. No detail is too small when you are noting damages.

Skimming the Lease

Do not skim your lease before signing it. A lease is a legally binding document. When you place your signature on the sheet, you are indicating you plan to follow all rules in the lease and understand what is expected of you.

In the lease you find the monthly rent, residency rules, any security deposit requirements, and other upfront costs. As you take the time to read over the lease, ask questions.

Do not sign a lease before you are comfortable with all terms and requirements. A quality landlord has no issue answering any questions you have during the leasing process.

Underestimating Costs

When you are calculating the costs of an apartment, consider other one-time fees. For example, many complexes have application fees and security deposits that must be paid ahead of time.

If you are looking at having a pet, additional fees are typically added onto your agreement, increasing your monthly rent on top of a deposit. If cable and certain utilities are not figured into your base rent, you must ask for a price range of utilities month-to-month. If you are moving into the apartment, it is important to think about moving costs.

It is incredibly important not to take the base price of your apartment as the only price you are going to pay each month. Utilities are often not included in base price rent and you must figure in monthly reoccurring costs.

It is recommended not to reside in a unit that is more than a third of your monthly income. Be aware of what your monthly spending habits are for groceries, cleaning supplies, and other additional costs. These expenses add up quickly and impact your ability to reasonably pay a certain amount of rent per month.

Not Asking About Utilities

Always inquire about what utilities are covered in your rent, if any. It may be the case that the apartment covers everything in your rent except for electricity. Whatever the case, you must set up the utilities in your name before you move into the property.

When you sign up, you choose the day the bill goes into your name for efficiency. If you do not have the utilities set up by the time you move in, you either have no electricity or you must pay back the landlord who covered the charges during the interim.

Not Getting Renter’s Insurance

Renters insurance is mostly used to cover replacement of destroyed or stolen belongings. Renters insurance can ensure your property is protected and most of the time the monthly premiums are affordable.

Work closely with your insurance agent to go over potential risks in your life you may want coverage for as this helps you gain the best level of protection. It is important to only pay for the coverage you realistically need.

Choosing the Wrong Roommate

Living with someone is cost-efficient, but if you are not careful about who you choose, it turns into a major conflict. Always do plenty of research beforehand and set down ground rules when it comes to living together.

Some important topics to include are noise levels, rules for guests, and where to set the temperate at. Additionally, you may want to go over the parking situation and how chores are handled.

If separate leases are not available for your unit, always have rental agreements in writing. In the instance you have a roommate who fails to pay a portion of the rent one month, you may still be legally obligated to pick up the slack. For that reason alone, be careful who you room with.

Do not be afraid to ask about how your potential roommate is going to pay the rent. Check out rental history and spend time with him or her to ensure you can live together reasonably.