How to Prepare for Renting Your First Home
So you’ve found the right apartment, in the right neighborhood, at the right price. Good for you! Unfortunately, the challenges of renting don’t end there. Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
Get renter’s insurance.
While it might not seem like you own enough stuff to justify insurance, items like clothes, books, electronics, furniture, and appliances do add up. Renters insurance is cheap: $10-20 a month, depending on coverage and location. In fact, some landlords even require it.
Know your landlord’s responsibilities.
One of the benefits of renting is that the landlord or property manager is responsible for maintenance and certain utilities–but it will likely be up to you to see that they follow through. Be sure to review your lease agreement carefully to find out the specific responsibilities of you and your landlord (e.g., replacing light bulbs).
Know your rights.
If you end up in a situation with a nightmare landlord, a difficult roommate, or a health and safety issue with a property, you’ll need to know what your options are. For instance, in almost all cases, a landlord must give 24 hours notice before entering your apartment, and can’t seize a tenant’s property for nonpayment of rent. Knowing these rights can save you a lot of hassle and help you avoid unlawful charges.
Meet the neighbors.
If possible, do this before you’ve signed a lease. Otherwise, you may discover that you are drastically incompatible with someone living in the room next to you. You can also learn a lot about the building, the neighborhood, and the landlord that your agent might not volunteer. Plus, after you’ve moved in, knowing your neighbors can help you out of a jam. For instance, you could trade keys in case someone gets locked out.
Following these tips can save you a lot of headaches in both the short term and long term, and ensure that your rental experience is as pleasurable as possible.