4 Mistakes That People Make When Renting an Apartment

Urban apartment, interior

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Having a comfortable and safe place to lay your head down is vital — everyone wants to have a home that is worth coming home to. If you are in the market for a rental, you have the luxury of being able to walk away at some point without having to sell your home. Unfortunately, that doesn’t completely protect you from rental disasters.

You still need to find the right place for you, at the right price. There are many rental mistakes that could cost you financially, emotionally, or otherwise. You don’t want to end up regretting your decision, or worse, losing your deposit because you have to move again. It’s important to avoid common renter mistakes in order to fight the right rental, whether it’s a standalone home, apartment, or condo. Here are four mistakes to avoid if you want to get the best possible rental for you.

1. Not seeing the property in person

Especially if you are relocating to a new area for a job, it can be tempting to look for apartments online ahead of time. While this can be a great way to narrow down your search, you shouldn’t agree to rent anything until you see it yourself. Sometimes pictures are misleading, and besides, seeing a property in person will allow you to speak with the landlord or property manager, and scope out the neighbors.

Sometimes people will ask friends or family to scout out a rental for them, but this is also a mistake. Your friends and family won’t necessarily have the same taste as you, or know exactly what you are looking for.

2. Not checking out the area

Point one and two go hand-in-hand; don’t assume just because you like a house or an apartment that you will like the area around it. You could find a great apartment in the middle of nowhere, but if you enjoy going out with friends and want to live somewhere trendy, then the aesthetically perfect apartment won’t be so perfect for you. You should also consider your commute to work.

Walk around, drive around, and explore the area nearby. You can also check out websites like Neighborhood Scout; you can search for information that is important to you, like crime statistics, schools, and home appreciation. If you know people in the area, make sure to ask them as well. Even if you are moving to a new home within your own community, it still helps to look around.

3. Ignoring your needs

As nice as it is to have a flashy and expensive car, if it doesn’t fit your needs, then you probably shouldn’t buy it. The same is true of rental homes, condos, or apartments. A potential rental can look great from the outside (or on the inside), but if it doesn’t fit your needs, then you won’t be happy for long after you sign the lease. If you are planning to have a roommate, consider how many bathrooms you will need. Is it important to you for there to be an on-site gym? What about a pool? Parking? Do you need a big kitchen? Make sure that you remember your must-haves, and that you don’t get swept away by the way a potential rental looks. It can help to create or go through a checklist to make sure that you get everything you want.

4. Not getting the right price

If you find your perfect apartment, but it costs $200 more than you want to spend, then it may not be the right apartment for you. Still, almost everything is negotiable, including rent. Don’t assume that the price that the landlord quoted you is the only price they will accept. If you are working with a property manager, they may not be able to lower the price, but you can still try. According to U.S. News and World Report, it will help to do your research and to know what comparable rentals are going for. You can also offer to sign a longer lease in order to have your rent reduced and show that you are a responsible and respectful potential tenant. If you can negotiate the price and get the perfect rental, you will be in a great place to move right in.

It’s worth noting that you should also make sure that you are careful about housing laws and rental insurance, and that you carefully read the lease before you sign it. Don’t assume that what the landlord told you in person will match what’s written on your lease. Also, be sure to take pictures when you first move in so you have proof of what the rental looked like in case a dispute arises.

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