This article originally appeared on the Springs "You're Home Blog."
Congratulations! Whether you're striking out on your own or moving to a more flexible lifestyle after the commitment of home ownership, renting for the first time is an exciting step.
While the process is new, it doesn't have to be intimidating. Here's a breakdown of what to expect so your transition is as smooth as possible.
Crunch the Numbers
Knowing ahead of time how much you can afford will prevent any unpleasant surprises down the road. Plan on having the first month's rent and security deposit up-front. If you keep your home in good condition (meaning it looks as good as when you moved in), the deposit will be returned to you upon move-out. A major benefit of renting: no budgeting for maintenance and upkeep expenses!
Choose a Floor Plan
Are you moving in with a family or roommate? Consider a two- or three-bedroom apartment. Even if you're flying solo, a second bedroom can be handy for overnight guests or a home office.
Submit the Application
The application demonstrates your worthiness as a resident. You will be asked to provide your drivers license or other photo ID along with Social Security number, employment history and personal references. A non-refundable fee is required to cover a credit and background check and other processing costs, so you should submit an application only when you're serious about a particular apartment.
Review the Lease
Read the lease carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions. It's a legally binding document that covers the rights and responsibilities of both you and your landlord, so you should understand it completely before signing.
Do a Walk-Through
Before move-in, conduct a walk-through with a representative from the leasing team to ensure that everything is in order. Use your phone or a digital camera to take pictures documenting the condition of the apartment. You will have to sign a condition report, so take this seriously and don’t be afraid to disagree if you see something amiss.
Obtain Renter's Insurance
Most apartment communities require you to have liability coverage to protect themselves and other residents. Some people overlook the importance of renter’s insurance for their personal property. You should protect the value of your possessions just as you would a car or any other major investment.
Make Arrangements for Utilities
Gas and electricity on vacant apartments usually revert back to the landlord's name, so have them transferred into your name. Don't forget to schedule installation of phone, Internet and cable service as needed. The property management should be able to help you out with how to get this done, complete with contact information.
Plan Your Move-In
Will you be using a professional moving company or bribing friends with pizza and beer? Make your arrangements as far ahead of time as possible so you don't find yourself scrambling at the last minute.
Our Springs Apartments team is dedicated to providing you with the best possible experience, beginning with your first visit. Please stop in or call with any questions you may have!