Get the most for your money when renting an apartment

Kaleah Mcilwain

There are a lot of perks to living in an apartment.

For starters, owning a home can be a lot of work since everything that needs repairing is on you, whereas in an apartment you have maintenance. Also, renting an apartment comes with a lease that will end allowing you to easily move while selling a home is a lot harder and time consuming.

Moving into an apartment is exciting, especially when you find the perfect place. However, it is always an intensive process that you should go into knowing what you should and shouldn't do.

Here are the dos and don't of renting an apartment.

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Do know your budget

When it comes to budgeting, no matter if you're a first time renter or moving to a new location, you need to know what you need and how much you have to spend.

This means know what kind of space you're looking for first. Do you need a one bedroom, or maybe a two bedroom if you have a roommate, or want extra space for a home office? This will help determine how much you need to move.

It is common to save before you move so you can handle moving expenses, but it's also important to make sure the new costs associated with your new apartment fit into your current budget. You want to have a set amount you can spend towards a new apartment and stick to it.

Do choose the right spot

Where you live will either have a big impact or a small impact on how much your rent is going to cost. It's no secret that living in the city costs more, while the further away from the city you live the cheaper rent costs.

Think about what's important to you for location. That may be whether it is close to work, or has an abundance of public transportation options. Also whether the neighbor is good for pets or children is something to take into consideration.

Do inspect the apartment

Everyone should do a tour of the apartments they are considering moving to at least once before signing a lease. During that tour it is crucial to thoroughly inspect the apartment before deciding to move in.

Be aware of sights, smells, and noises. Some places may have things that need to be repaired before you move in that they won't readily point out to you themselves. It is also common to find that apartments have thin walls, therefore be aware of if you can hear your neighbors or traffic in the halls. Also check for any odd smells coming from drains in the kitchen and bathroom and make sure the apartment is aware to have it dealt with before you move in.

Once you pick a place remember to do another inspection on move-in day as well.

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Do read the lease

Once you solidify a place and are sent a lease, it's crucial to read it all the way through. A lease is a legally binding document so you want to make sure that you are very familiar with what is in the lease. This will determine what you can and can not do to the apartment such as paint the walls or drill holes.

Read it until you fully understand and agree with the terms of the lease before signing.

Don't make impulsive decisions

Don't settle on the first apartment you look at. The moving process is time consuming and you will need to look at many places to get an idea of what options are on the market.

You don't want to make an impulsive decision and end up paying too much for an apartment that you could have gotten for cheaper, or end up with an apartment that doesn't have everything that you want.

Don't take your first offer

It can be easy to let the excitement of moving take over when you find a place that you love. But it is important to remember that leasing agents aren't going to give you the lowest rate for the apartment on their own, you have to negotiate.

Also a lot of apartments offer move-in specials such as first month's rent free or waived security deposit, but most of the time you have to ask about these things.

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Don't underestimate moving

Depending on how much stuff you have to move, this can either be a small job or a big job. If you are moving with no furniture at all then your job will be pretty easy.

But if you are relocating and have a full apartment worth of stuff already, your move is going to be a big job, one that may require a couple of extra hands. Decide and budget ahead of time for the cost of getting a moving company or renting a U-Haul truck to move your things yourself with the help of friends and family.

Packing well ahead of time will also benefit you here so you can estimate how many movers you'll need for how long, or what size U-Haul you'll need to move on your own.

Don't wait to report any maintenance issues

This is important at the beginning of your move-in and further down the line during the duration of your apartment lease. If you find that there's a crack in the wall, a leaking ceiling, or any other problem, be sure to report it immediately.

Waiting to report maintenance issues will just make the problem worse and could end up affecting whether you can stay in the apartment or will have to move while they make repairs.

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Journalist with a background reporting on local communities, now living in and reporting on the Baltimore area. Find me on twitter!

Baltimore, MD
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