Congratulations, you are ready to rent your first place! Now what?
Whether you are a twenty-something recent college graduate or a more mature individual who had the foresight to delay leaving home to reduce expenses, renting your first place can be a daunting process, particularly if you are going it alone.
When renting, there are several important things to consider. Having combed through horror stories and sought expert advice, BUZZ gives you a helpful but in no way exhausted guide to renting your first place.
One word, budget! When renting, perhaps the most important thing to consider is what you can afford. Rent will vary based on location, size of the unit, amenities and relation to other important convenience. Additionally, is maintenance fee associated with the rental? And if you can afford those costs, can you still manage after the respective utilities are added? A general rule of thumb is that no more than 30 per cent of your income after taxes should go to rent. If you can get it cheaper, that’s even better.
While you may not get the perfect rental on your first go, it’s important that you make a budget and stay within it to ensure you’re not making sacrifices in other aspects of your to pay rent.
It is also important to know your landlord. Renting is a very personal thing. It decides where you will be spending much of your free time for the near future; as such, you want to be comfortable in that space. In many rental arrangements, the landlord lives on the same property as the tenant. It is important to determine, and quickly, if that individual is likely to become a nosy neighbour.
Additionally, in the search for a new home, you do not want to inadvertently make the family pet homeless. Apartment complexes in the Corporate Area are notorious for not allowing pets, and some also prohibit gas stoves. Before you commit to moving, find out what polices are in place, particularly those regarding pets and any other matter which directly affects your tenancy.
What’s more, do remember to check everything! Moving is already an unsettling process so you want to ensure that the transition into your new place is as uneventful as possible. Before moving in, check the plumbing, electrical outlets, cabinets, fixtures…anything that needs to go up, down, sideways or crisscross.
Be wary of red flags – if something does not sit well with you prior to renting, chances are that will not change when you have moved in. Doubts about the transparency of the process, the landlord, the place being rented or any related matter should be taken seriously at all times. Ask questions if you are uncomfortable with aspects of the process. Things like a property seeming unmaintained, a shady landlord, suspicious payment practices or inconsistent rates should all give you pause. And if you are not satisfied with the responses you receive, don’t hesitate to walk away. It’s usually better to err on the side of caution.
Moreover, when you have moved in, there is often a desire to create the dream space that you have always envisioned. However, be practical about what your immediate needs are and what can be done at a later time. This not only helps you to spread costs across a longer period, but it also gives you the opportunity to get used to the space and make better decisions regarding what will work with what you may already have brought with you.