1st Time Renters
Mills Property Management is excited to help you start your journey as a first-time renter! Maybe you are a new college graduate or moving out of your parents place for the first time, no matter your situation becoming a first-time renter is a very exciting milestone. If you have already started looking, you may be surprised with everything that is involved in renting your first place, but following the tips below can help make the transition go smoothly!
Choose Your Priorities
Are there specific amenities that you absolutely must have? As a first-time renter, it’s very easy to set your expectations too high – Be sure that you’re open to compromise in some areas that are less important to you. You might decide that you can live without a walk-in closet or stainless steel appliances – especially if there’s a tradeoff, like bigger rooms or a lower monthly rent payment. Deciding what is important to you is the first step to finding the home that is the best fit for you!
Know How Much You Can Afford
Decide what your budget is before you start looking for an apartment. Don’t forget to think about upfront cost, as well as, monthly living expenses.
Before you sign a lease, you will need to put down a security deposit. The security deposit is like insurance for the landlord. This money could be returned to you after you move out, unless you leave still owing rent or with damage to the place. Then these costs can be deducted from your security deposit. Security deposit amounts vary by property, but each property’s manager will be able to provide you with this information.
You will also be responsible to pay your rent each month. In addition to rent, it is important to factor in other monthly expenses such as, utilities like electricity or water and add-ons like cable and internet. For most properties the manager would be able to give you an average of what your utility cost would be. Your property may even include some utilities in your rent amount already.
Be Prepared to Apply
Before you can sign the lease, you’ll have to fill out an application and pass through the screening process. At Mills Property Management, our screening process includes a credit check, address/landlord history verification, and a criminal background screening. To be prepared for the application process you’ll need to know your Social Security number and depending on the type of housing you apply for you may need additional documentation as well.
Read the Lease
When it comes time to sign your lease, be sure to read through it carefully. If you don’t understand or agree with something in the lease, please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Your lease is a legal binding contract, so you will want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what is expected. Once the lease is signed, you’ll have to stick to it for the duration of that lease.
Discuss Everything with Your Roommate
If you’re planning on living with a roommate or two, set aside time to discuss living arrangements before you move in. Make sure you know how much each of you will pay, how you will divide up cleaning responsibilities and other chores, and who will provide furniture and miscellaneous household items. Having a plan ahead of time will make things run more smoothly once you move in.
Look into Renter's Insurance
Unless you have enough money saved to replace everything you own in case of theft, fire or other disaster, you need renters’ insurance. The property’s insurance only covers the building and the infrastructure – it does not extend to the items in your home. Even if you don’t think you own anything of value, take a few minutes to think about what it would cost to replace all of your clothing, furniture, electronics, etc. These items start to add up quickly and having renters’ insurance can save you big time in the event of a disaster.
These are just a few of the things that you should keep in mind when renting for the first time. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may come up with along the way. Our knowledgeable staff has over 20 years of experience in property management and would love to help ease your search!