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Your guide to renting your first apartment

Shot of an attractive young couple moving house

Imagine the freedom of finally having a space of your own where you make your own rules. This is the beauty of renting a house or an apartment for the first time. However, before you can enjoy that freedom, there is much to be done. Searching for the perfect abode to rent is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg – underneath that are several choices to make, people to talk to, money to set aside, paperwork to attend to, and many more.

Yes, moving into your very first rental can be quite intimidating. Thus, our team at Sundance Property Management prepared this handy guide to renting an apartment to help you out with the nitty gritty of this process.

Know the costs

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends that you should only allot up to 30% of your gross income on rent. If you need help knowing the amount of funding required for this endeavor, simply look for online rent calculators that will base your budget on your desired area, monthly gross income, and your preferred number of bedrooms.

There are also upfront costs and long-term costs to consider when you prepare your budget. Your upfront costs may include:

  • Application fees
  • Security deposit
  • Payment for the first and last month
  • Pet deposit if you have a furry companion

The long-term costs will include those that sustain your lifestyle, utilities, connectivity, and plumbing and trash services, to name several.

Location matters

Whether you’re buying your abode or just renting it, location should be a big consideration for you. The home or apartment you choose may be within your budget and has the amenities you prefer – but if it’s far from places you frequent (office, school, grocery, medical facility, recreation areas, etc.) then your choice may not be the most ideal.

Consider these other location-related aspects:

  • Walkability
  • Access to public transport
  • Degree of safety in the neighborhood
  • Level of noise in the neighborhood
  • Exclusivity of the neighborhood

The need for a roommate

If money’s tight, getting a roommate in your rental is a great idea. You’ll have someone sharing both financial and apartment/home maintenance obligations with you. There are many rental websites out there that you can use to find the perfect roommate – but before making the final decision, make sure to screen them first. Remember that they have to possess the same level of responsibility toward making the monthly payments and using shared amenities, among many other things.

To formally seal your roommate-sharing scheme, you and the person you selected can draft a roommate agreement. This outlines the responsibilities and commitments between the two of you, signed alongside the lease agreement with the property owner.

Furry roommates

If you have a furry companion with you, make sure you know the property owner’s policy regarding pets. Some owners may or may not approve of pets in their premises. For those that do, they may require a monthly fee for Fifi or Fido on top of your monthly rental or an upfront pet fee.

If you truly love your pet, only choose rentals that are pet-friendly. Don’t risk smuggling a pet in only for it to be discovered later on as this may cause you trouble.

Amenities you require

Just as important as a rental’s location is its amenities. To know what amenities matter to you most, try to list down the ones you used the most in your previous home. If you have kids, you might require a space within your unit for laundry. If you’re more into cooking, then you’ll want a kitchen with ample space, counters, and shelves. If you – like many others – have been working from home lately, then extra space for a small home office will do you well.

Many apartments these days have wonderful shared amenities that could rival those of condos. Make sure to check these out and see if they will complement the lifestyle you lead. Several shared amenities include swimming pools, gyms, and rooftop terraces.

Prepare the documentation beforehand

This particular apartment rental guideline is unwritten but commonly enforced: a rental is usually awarded to the first qualified person who applies for it. With that in mind, being prepared with the necessary paperwork even while hunting for potential rentals will increase your chances of landing a good one immediately.

What are these basic papers and information that you should keep ready? Here are some of them:

  • Contact details of personal references
  • Proof of income (pay stubs or W-2)
  • Bank statements
  • Credit score
  • Rental application (to be handed out by the property owner)
  • Rental reference letter

There is a wealth of lovely homes and apartments for rent throughout Cincinnati and the rest of the Tri-State area that you can consider for your first rental engagement. We at Sundance Property Management can help you in your search. Just get in touch with us by clicking here today.