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10 Mistakes When Renting an Apartment

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The Six Easiest Start-To-Finish Steps for Renting an Apartment!

Renting an apartment is an exciting way to transition into a new lifestyle or compliment and existing one. It can be fun and enriching, but it can also be a nightmare for the uninformed. The following tips are all absolutely essential for avoiding critical mistakes when dealing with apartment rentals.

Step One: Find the Best Location Possible

Finding the best apartments for rent is always going to be completely dependent on the future tenant. An apartment that doesn't fit in with a tenant's lifestyle is an overall hindrance and most likely a waste of money. Therefore, the "best" location possible might be completely different for two different people. Apartments in a price range can often vary greatly in terms of benefits and cost effectiveness.

Obvious aspects of an apartment to take into consideration are:

  • Is the apartment ideally located near frequent destinations?
  • Does the apartment's features justify its costs?
  • Is the apartment intelligently laid out? Does it save space or waste space?
  • Is the apartment in a safe neighborhood?
  • Would it be easier to get an extra room and a roommate? The difference in price between a 1 bedroom apartment and a 2 bedroom apartment with a roommate is often significant.

Step Two: Obtain As Many Quotes as Possible and Evaluate Total Costs

Quotes are the ultimate tool for leveraging an excellent deal in a rental. They are easy to secure, and most renters will be more than happy to provide pricing details quickly to improve their chances of securing a tenant's business.

Quotes, however, should also include utility costs. The most common utility costs are electric, water, gas and communications (internet and phone), and these can change from house to house. Some rooms are better insulated and will save a decent amount of money during uncomfortable seasonal weather.

While this may seem like a lot of work, this step often has a better overall payoff than working a typical job. If a potential renter spends an extra ten hours investigating properties and subsequently saves $650 a year from that time investment, they've essentially made $65 per hour and have the best location that they possibly can. Realistically, this equates to an extra $50 or more dollars per month, and I've personally seen renters save $800 per month by finding a more suitable property than the one that they were previously renting. That's an extra $9600 per year. It took less than 50 hours to finalize the decision.

Step Three: The Contract

It is imperative of a renter to fully read any contract that places legal responsibilities on them. If a contract is to be signed, it must be read thoroughly and carefully. If the renter does not understand anything in the contract, they must figure out exactly what it means with absolute certainty.

The lease is legally binding. Once it is signed, any terms and conditions are fully valid in court of law. If any agreements in the contract are illegal to impose upon renters, the contract can often fail in court - even if the dispute is about a different part of the contract that's totally legal. A bad lease can mean disaster and unforeseen financial burdens for the renter. These are all prime reasons to understand every detail that a written contract states.

Step Four: Claim the Apartment

Once the lease is understood fully and accepted, the goal is to secure the room as quickly as possible. Quotes may expire and rooms may be taken by another, more eager renter in competitive markets. If step one was followed completely, this apartment is the best apartment possible. Losing this apartment to delays or negligence would mean settling for second-best. This can sometimes mean paying before being fully prepared to move-in and get situated.

Step Five: Secure Property

Immediately after claiming the apartment, take photos of everything inside of the building. These photos offer important protection against any damages and keep everyone honest about any necessary repairs.

It is also very wise to invest in renter's insurance. For less than the cost of one large pizza a month, it's usually possible to insure all personal belongings in an apartment such as electronics, computers, books, clothes, tools, equipment, jewelry and other similar belongings that have a financial value and can be replaced.

Step Six: Coordinate & Enjoy

The last step in the apartment rental process is organizing the apartment. If the apartment is simply a place to sleep and relax, the placement of belongings inside won't always matter very much. However, a logically organized room can save time and promote excellent habits. If the renter is going to be using phone and internet, they will need to consider these when arranging furniture. Each person will need to uniquely arrange everything in the room to optimize the performance of the apartment, unless they're lazy. Lazy people can probably just ignore this step.

That's it! These steps can easily assist anyone in making a smooth transition into a new apartment.

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