A First-Time Renter’s Guide

    Congratulations on your decision to rent. Renting as compared to buying a house has its advantages. It offers you flexibility that fits your lifestyle and freedom from financial investment and huge maintenance costs.

    Renting may seem like an easy choice that doesn’t need a lot of mulling over but if it is your first time to rent, you may need to take note of some reminders to ensure a good experience. Here is a simple guide for first-time renters out there:

    Budget wisely

    Be sure you can afford paying for the rent not just today but in the next four or six months of your contract. According to experts, your rent should be not more than 30 percent of your monthly income to make sure you will have no problem paying for it and be able to set some amount for other needs. In setting a budget, take note that rent does not include other expenses you may need for additional expenses relating to the apartment or house like basic utilities like electricity, cable and phone bills, and household needs like food, clothing, parking fees, cleaners and entertainment. You need to also ask your landlord what basic services are included in your rent.

    Deposit details

    When you decide to rent, the landlord will usually ask for a security deposit. This is usually equal to the amount of one month’s rent. So you should set aside an amount to pay for this too aside from the rent. Also you might need to pay some fees to be able to have your electricity, cable and internet connected. Renting can actually also bring a lot of unexpected expenses aside from the actual rent itself so you should be ready financially to cover them.

    Inspect first

    Before you commit to renting and signing a lease, visit the actual unit first and not just the model unit. Request for a walkthrough and check on the unit very well. Pay attention to pre-existing damages and have them noted in the lease. Or inquire if you can have them fixed before you move in. Check the appliances if they work, turn the lights and faucets and check if they work, and open cabinets and closets. Also ask for security measures like security guards and fire exit.

    Scrutinize the lease

    Read and understand the lease and don’t rush into signing it right away. Take a copy with you home and make sure you read all the fine prints. Make sure any information that your landlord told you about is in the lease like the utilities and services covered in the rent. If you were able to negotiate a change in some fees like pet fee or parking fee, be sure they are all included in the lease so that everything will be in writing.

    Get an insurance

    Some landlords will require all tenants to get renter’s insurance. If yours do not, still consider about getting one. A renter’s insurance will offer you protection from natural disasters like flooding, fire and crime. You can choose the kind of coverage you want and pay a small fee but it’s all worth it for a peace of mind.