The time has come to move out of your current place. Where should you go? What should you be looking for? Here we will break down the things to consider when looking for, negotiating, and moving into your new rental.
1. Calculate Your Budget
It is important to understand what you can truly afford prior to even looking for a new space. Do you plan to have roommates? A significant other? Looking to live alone? Sit down and understand your finances, as well as those of the people, or person, you want to live with. Come to an agreement over what all parties involved can afford. When doing so, don’t forget to take into account other expenses. The majority of rentals do not include all bills, meaning you need to take into account the cost of water, gas, electricity, building maintenance, parking options, or any other monthly expenses that will arise.
2. Consider Appropriate Neighborhoods
The neighborhood you choose to live in will make a huge difference in the price of rent, parking, transportation, the associated expenses you will incur, the standard of living you’re expecting to have, and so much more. It is no wonder the 3 rules of real estate are location, location, location. Once you’ve completed your budget – look into the neighborhoods and understand if it is affordable to you. Would you rather give up on space but be closer to the city center, or do you prefer being further away with a larger rental?
Do your research and manage your expectations accordingly. Found a seemingly amazing apartment in the heart of town for cheap? If it is too good to be true, it usually is. By knowing your facts ahead of your search, you can avoid common renter mistakes and come off as the seasoned professional you are!
3. Be Landlord Ready
Be prepared to sign a contract. Think about what the landlord or property manager will require and have it ready ahead of time. This includes blank checks, your credit rating, previous pay stubs, references, and the like. If you have a bad credit rating, a previous eviction, criminal conviction, or something that may deem you a risky tenant, bring documents to prove your reliability. Being prepared for a contract signing gives you the ability to focus on the things that matter the most to you.
As the renter, your focus should be on specific stipulations in the contract you want to discuss, or small repairs you’d like made prior to moving in. Make sure the date your check is cashed coincides with your paydays. Will the landlord be transferring the electricity, gas, or water bill into your name? Or will you be paying the landlord directly? If you are paying the landlord directly, ask that proof of payment be a clause in the contract itself, this guarantees no charges can be disputed at future dates.
4. Check the Bones of The Unit
Prior to moving in is the perfect time to learn about the rental itself. With all the furniture out of the unit, you can see the wear and tear of the previous tenants, mold on the walls, leaking faucets, windows that don’t close properly, and more. It is up to you to do your due diligence and check that all the faucets are in working order, air conditioners and heaters work, all drains are void of debris and the like. By checking and clarifying these things early on, you can point them out to the landlord, have them fixed prior to your stuff being moved into the unit, and avoid costly repairs in the future.
5. Get Renters Insurance
Want to make sure you’ve truly covered all of your bases? Get renters insurance. It is inexpensive and covers everything from your belongings – to someone falling down in your unit. Renters insurance provides temporary housing if your rental becomes uninhabitable and protects you and your stuff from natural disasters.
Landlords will take out an insurance policy on your rental – but the common misconception is that this policy will protect you and your belongings as well. But this is simply not the case. A landlord’s insurance policy is taken out to cover the brick and mortar of the unit. The literal bones of the unit itself. For example, if a flood were to occur the hardwood floors would be covered, however, your couch, rug, and other personal items would not be.
6. Make Your Move a Breeze
You’ve got your boxes, hired a moving company, and move-in day is upon you. Have you figured out where you can park the moving truck? Find out when the best time to move is to avoid parking fines or worse, your car or truck being towed! Talk to the concierge, other people in the building or the neighborhood, and bring up anything you see that could be an issue. Do you need to reserve the moving elevator? Determine the logistics ahead of time to avoid problems on your moving day.
What can you do to make your move even easier? Go to the rental before moving in and clean the cupboards, make small repairs, wash down the bathrooms and the kitchen so as your stuff moves in, you can swiftly put it away. Put clothing into luggage for easy unpacking and keep hangers on the clothes you can, so you can simply hang everything up again while unpacking. Leave out toilet paper, water, and scissors – so once you’ve moved everything into your rental you have a way to open your boxes, use the bathroom, and drink some water! Moving doesn’t have to be a strenuous process – all you need to do is think ahead and have your ducks in a row. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting in your new place enjoying the fruits of your labor.