Renting an apartment doesn’t involve quite the same financial commitment as buying a house, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a big deal. And right now, finding an apartment is harder than ever, given rising prices and a lack of vacant units in many cities.
The number of renters is growing in many U.S. cities, according to a 2015 study by New York University’s Furman Center, but supply isn’t keeping pace with demand. When a rental market is tight and there’s pressure to act fast, it’s easy to make quick decisions that can come back to haunt you later. Yet picking a place without doing due diligence beforehand can leave you living in a home that’s unsafe or that doesn’t fit your needs, or locked in a battle with your landlord over issues that could have been avoided.
Ultimately, choosing the wrong place to live can be draining, both emotionally and financially. The average in-state move in the U.S. costs $1,170, according to U.S. News & World Report. That’s a big expense to shoulder when you’re not planning for it. Making a mistake when renting can also mean losing your security deposit, having to pay to replace damaged personal property, or even getting caught up in a lawsuit. Not fun.
Whether this is your first rental or your fifteenth, it pays to know what you shouldn’t do when choosing an apartment. Steering clear of these five big errors will save you money in the end.