Renting an apartment for the first time is an exciting milestone, but it can turn into a nightmare for newbie tenants who don’t know how to navigate the apartment hunting process. To aid you in this regard, we’ve prepared a list of renting tips and everything else you need to know while renting an apartment with first-time renters in mind.
It’s normal for novice renters to underestimate or overestimate how much they will be spending on rent. A popular rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent payments. However, that may be difficult in cities with higher costs of living like New York City. Remember to include all monthly expenses when setting your budget to allow for all unexpected costs as well.
Once you figure out what you can afford, it’s time to decide where you want to live. If you don’t want to commute and want to be close to your workplace, look for an apartment nearby. But if you prefer driving or don’t mind taking public transportation, you might find cheap rentals in more suburban areas.
Everyone wants unique features in their first apartment, that’s why there are so many choices. Ask yourself the following questions before you start hunting for your first rental:
Think of any other amenities that you might want in your apartment and then start your search accordingly.
Virtual tours have made the apartment search process a lot easier. You can tour your desired rental no matter where you are. However, don’t rely solely on online ads or virtual tours. Make the time to have a good old-fashioned walk-through of the apartment even if you don’t think you’ll rent in that particular place. This will give you a better idea of the apartments in that area.
While you are on a tour with the property manager, ask yourself these questions:
You may also be able to talk to other residents while you’re on-site to get a sense of the community’s vibe.
To rent an apartment for the first time in New York, you need:
An apartment lease is a legal document that is signed by the landlord and the tenant. Normally, a lease summarizes what you will be responsible for. It will identify how much rent you would be paying, how much rent the landlord may increase, whether you can have pets or not, and the length of the rental agreement. As a first-time renter, you’ll need to read and understand the terms and conditions of the lease.
As a first-time renter, buying insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself from unexpected and unwanted losses. While we know accidents are usually infrequent, it’s not wise to risk losing your property in the event one should occur.
Before buying a renter’s insurance policy, find out what all it covers. Some policies don’t cover certain events like flood damage. Also, most policies don’t cover damage caused by the policyholder, be it intentional or unintentional.
In NYC, weather influences rental cycles and rent rates. For example, apartments located near a beach will be more expensive to rent during the summer months (usually at the start of May). Keep this in mind as you start your search; you may want to look for apartments that will cost less based on the time of the year.
Landlords like to rent apartments to the first qualified tenant. Therefore, to increase your chances of being selected, have the following documents on hand when you visit the apartment:
Making a positive first impression matters the most. Whether it’s a first conversation with the landlord or an online property inquiry, communicate well and put thought into your words. Read listings carefully and give your landlord the impression that you’re a serious candidate.
Every day new renters enter the rental market. If you’ve never rented an apartment, don’t panic! You’ve got to start somewhere. Just research the housing options that are most affordable for you in the area where you want to live and put forth some effort.
One final piece of advice: once you’ve found a rental, make sure to read the lease agreement carefully. Understand the terms and conditions to which you will be agreeing. Don’t sign a lease that you can’t afford; otherwise, you might face costly consequences.