Nothing compares to the excitement and anxiety that comes from shopping around for your first apartment. You want to find a space that fits your budget, is in a great neighborhood, and is close to your work or school. Unfortunately, finding a place that seems great on paper can often leave you stuck in an apartment that you cannot afford or doesn't meet your long-term needs. When it comes to finding your first apartment, here are a few mistakes you need to avoid.
Shopping Outside Your Budget
You found a place of your dreams and are ready to fill out the lease application. Unfortunately, the apartment is way out of your budget. Creating a realistic budget that factors in your income and your other debt obligations, including car payments, car insurance, food, and utilities, is the best way to ensure you do not live outside your means.
As a rule, it is best to not spend more than 30 percent of your monthly net income on your rent. This will ensure you have enough to not only live well, but also save for your future.
Assuming You Will Find the Right Apartment Immediately
Depending on where you live, there could be dozens or even hundreds of apartment rentals available in your area. Do not assume that you will find the perfect apartment in a matter of days. Instead, create a realistic timeline of at least a few weeks to find an apartment that will best fit your needs and budget. Consider using a real estate website that allows you to filter your search based upon your specific needs and criteria.
Narrow down the search to your top five apartments and schedule an appointment to look at each apartment.
Foregoing Renter's Insurance
While you are creating a budget for your apartment, do not overlook an important aspect of renting your first apartment: securing rental insurance. Rental insurance is much like homeowner's insurance in that the coverage protects your belongings against fire, other damages, or theft. Much like looking for an apartment, do your homework and look for a rental insurance provider that will fit your needs and budget.
Signing a Lease Without Viewing the Apartment
In a competitive market, some apartment hunters are signing a lease without touring the apartment first. Unfortunately, the pictures of an apartment will not show you all the hidden damages, bad neighborhood, or your questionable neighbors. Always schedule a walk-through before signing a lease.
Shopping for your first apartment can be intimidating, and there are several mistakes you should avoid to ensure you find a space you love and can afford. Keep these tips in mind when looking for one-bedroom apartments near you.