Whether you’re renting a house for the first time or finally moving to a bigger apartment, finding the perfect place can be quite a challenge. To help you navigate this often-chaotic time, take heed of these tips:
Determine your budget
The apartment you end up choosing depends largely on your budget. So at the outset, determine the maximum rent you can realistically afford. If you’re not sure what that amount is, experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your gross monthly income on overall housing costs. This includes not just rent but also incidental costs like renter’s insurance and your security deposit.
Save up for moving costs
While we’re on the topic of finances, you should also account for all the associated expenses with moving apartments. First and foremost would be the security deposit which, in Tennessee, is usually equivalent to one month’s worth of rent. Likewise, you should take into account the cost of buying packing supplies and hiring a moving company. You’ll also have to include in your budget the upfront costs of having utilities connected to your new place.
Separate must-haves from nice-to-haves
We all want a spacious pad with majestic skyline views, but this isn’t always realistic because of budget restrictions or the availability of properties. Before you start looking for apartments, list down all the things that make a unit ideal for you. Then, separate these features into must-have and nice-to-have. Rarely will you find an apartment that ticks all your boxes, so it’s crucial to know what you can do without if push comes to shove. For instance, you may be willing to forego an in-unit washer/dryer if the building has a convenient laundromat anyway.
Inspect the unit carefully
Once you request a viewing, make sure to thoroughly inspect the apartment. This is crucial because photos don’t always tell the whole story and may even obscure deal-breaking flaws. Take a peek into the cabinets and drawers to look for animal droppings — a sure sign of pest infestation. Test the faucets and toilet as well to see if the water runs clear. While you’re at it, bring a phone charger and test if the outlets actually work. Lastly, ask to have the HVAC system turned on to verify that it can heat or cool the space properly.
Of all the first-time home renter tips out there, this is one of the most overlooked. Never sign the lease without checking whether your furniture will actually fit in the apartment. You’re in for a major headache on moving day if you find out that your beloved couch can’t even squeeze through the front door. Fortunately, this scenario can be easily avoided with the help of a humble tape measure. Be sure to take measurements of all entrances and hallways, as well as the various rooms in the apartment. If you have oversized furniture, such as a dresser, don’t forget to measure the height of the room, as well.
Check out the neighborhood
A unit might seem perfect, but what about the community it’s located in? The last thing you want is to move to a new place and belatedly discover that the neighbors are rowdy. After viewing the unit, try to talk to current tenants to get a sense of what living in the building is like. You should also take a walk around the block to see what the neighborhood’s vibe is. Are the streets well-kept and walkable? Is the area close to public parks? Does the neighborhood feel safe?
Review the lease carefully
Your lease is more than just a rental contract; in many ways, it’s your user’s guide, too. That’s because it spells out everything you need to know about being a good tenant, from when to pay rent to whether you’re allowed to repaint the walls. Aside from stipulating how much your rent is, your lease will also state whether utilities are included in your payment. Reading this document also tells you what your landlord’s obligations are, such as the maintenance work they will or will not cover.
Moving to a new apartment can be an exciting but anxious time. If you need help finding the ideal rental property, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sundance Property Management. With its extensive list of apartments for rent in Knoxville, Tennessee, you’ll find a unit that fits your needs and budget in no time.