5 Insightful Things to Consider Before Moving into Your First Apartment

As is the case with many things in life, you will learn a lot about renting an apartment by enduring a few hard knocks with your initial leasing experiences. Some of these knocks can create substantial financial hardship or can impact your quality of life in numerous ways. The good news is that you can enjoy a better first apartment rental experience by focusing your attention on a few important factors.

1- Included Utilities and Services

When you move into your own apartment, you are responsible for all housing-related expenses in some way. This includes your utilities, phone service, Internet service and even waste removal. Some apartments function as an all-bills-paid community, and this means that your utilities and perhaps waste removal are included in your monthly rental payment. However, you should inquire about the specific bills that are paid so that you do not make assumptions that create financial hardship for you later. Some communities may have a contracted rate for Internet service that you can benefit from, and they may offer front door trash pickup service. Update your budget to reflect all expenses before signing a lease.

2- Hidden Fees

While some communities include many services and housing-related bills in the monthly rental rate, others may nickel-and-dime you with various fees. For example, if you need a parking space, you may have to pay an additional fee to park your car on-site. There may also be an additional monthly fee for pet rent. If you plan to have multiple people living in your apartment, any utilities expenses included could increase per person. Remember that most leases require you to disclose all occupants, and you may be fined for not doing so.

3- Availability of Parking

While some apartment communities offer free parking and others offer a dedicated parking space for a fee, the availability of parking can be an issue in some communities. Some apartment communities, for example, do not limit where guests can park or how many guests you can reasonably have at the same time. If a few of your neighbors are hosting a large gathering, you may find it impossible to park anywhere in your community’s parking lot. You do not want to hike a half-mile or more to get to your apartment in rain or snow, and you do not want to make this trek if you are bringing groceries home from the store. Understand the availability of on-site parking and the parking rules before you sign a lease.

4- Your Furnishings

Another factor to consider when selecting your apartment is your furnishings. Consider the effort to move your furnishings up multiple flights of stairs or onto an elevator, or consider the cost associated with paying movers to assist you. Think about the placement of your furnishings. Remember that furnished apartments are an option to consider if you are just starting out and have little or no furniture, but the rental rate is considerably higher.

5- Pet Rules and Fees

If you have a pet or if you intend to get a pet at any point during the length of your lease, read the pet rules closely. Think about how affordable the pet deposit is and if any portion of it is refundable. Some apartment communities charge an additional fee for monthly pet rent, and they may also require you to pay for professional carpet cleaning when you vacate the apartment. These various expenses can add up to a very sizable amount of money. Because the rules and fees vary by community, it makes sense to thoroughly research and compare the options before deciding where to live.

Moving into your first apartment is a rite of passage. This can be a thrilling time in your life, and you may be inclined to sign a lease with the first apartment unit that meets your needs and that is seemingly affordable. However, you can see that there are many important factors that must be considered if you want to choose a new apartment that is affordable in all ways and that is comfortable and convenient for you to live in. As you explore the many options, ask your leasing agent about all of these factors as they are applicable to your unique needs and situation.

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