Moving out of your parents’ house is exciting and scary. Even if you are prepared for the real world, there are always things that come up that you just don’t know and that’s OK. We’re providing you with our six most useful tips for first time renters to help you get started.
1. Determine Your Budget
For first time renters, we suggest creating a budget before you start apartment hunting. A common way to determine your budget is to follow the 50/20/30 rule. Let’s break this technique down:
- 50: Half of your budget should go to fixed costs that are the same every month. This includes rent, utilities, car payments, and subscriptions (internet, TV, gym, etc.).
- 20: This part of your budget should go toward financial goals, such as creating a savings or emergency fund, paying off debt, and saving for retirement.
- 30: Finally, 30 percent of your take-home pay should go to flexible costs, or things that change every month. This may include groceries, gas, eating out, and entertainment.
Take a look at how much money you’re earning every month, and then break down your budget into the 50/20/30 system to see how much you can afford. Don’t forget about taxes, so look at your take-home spending, not how much your salary is per month. As far as the apartment hunt goes, you also need to account for application fees and deposits for the unit and utilities in your budget.
2. Set Payment Reminders
Life happens and sometimes you just forget about paying your bills. It happens, so don’t panic. To help you minimize any mishaps, set reminders for yourself for important due dates. For example, make a recurring calendar reminder for the first of every month to pay rent. Do the same thing for your utilities, internet, car payments, credit card, and any other bills.
3. Understand Your Lease
When you’re signing your lease agreement, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. The most common type of lease is a fixed-term lease, which means that you’re agreeing to live at that property for a specific amount of time at a fixed cost. It’s important for you to sign a lease because it ensures your landlord can’t kick you out without warning (as long as you pay your rent on time) and they can’t increase the cost of rent until the agreement is up. It also helps the landlord know that you won’t move out without any warning.
Before you sign the documents, you should double check that all the information is accurate, including the price, location, fees, amenities, and your personal information. You also should know the rules of the property, such as smoking and guests, and if there are any penalties for late payments or other problems. One last thing you need to understand is what happens if you need to end your lease early. Ask if this is an option, what fees are associated with early termination, and anything else you need to know.
4. Take Advantage of Amenities
Another piece of rental advice is to look at the amenities your apartment provides. For example, our San Antonio apartments have dazzling pools, great gyms, and plenty of common areas for you to take advantage of. Instead of spending your hard-earned money on a gym membership, you can use ours for free. We also have a pet policy that doesn’t prevent you from bringing home any size or breed of dog. These amenities can help you choose the right community and make your life just a little better.
5. Stay Organized
You don’t have a ton of extra room in apartments. Before you move in, go through your belongings and decide what you really need to bring with you. If you haven’t used it for awhile and can’t see yourself using it in the next couple months, donate it or get rid of it. For everything else, get storage bins, shelves, and organizers to help you keep your new place nice and tidy.
6. Get out of the House
Even though you’re excited about your new apartment, it’s important that you get out of the house once in awhile. Explore your new neighborhood, go out with friends, and don’t forget to visit your family. You’ll enjoy coming back home and maintain your social life at the same time.
Living on your own is a new adventure. With a few tips and a little know-how, you’ll soon be a renting expert.