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Five Key Tips for Finding Your First Apartment

So many things can factor into choosing your first apartment, and sometimes, making a final decision can be a feat. There are innumerable options today, which is a good thing as it offers you all the freedom you need to pick something you really want. But how do you go about it without losing your mind?

Know what you want and what you need.

Before you begin searching for apartments, create a list of your expectations, what you want, and of course, the necessities. Number of bedrooms, amenities, square footage – knowing all of these details makes it easier for you to find an apartment that you’ll be happy to have later on. As well, this will help you decide which areas you can compromise on and how this impacts your budget.

Know your timing.

People usually move in on the first day of the month, but they can also do so at the middle sometimes. Remember that May to August is when rentals are busiest, so the best time to start looking for a place is a month earlier. In any case, it’s always a good idea to start looking when you’re ready to decide.

Prepare to dive.

So you’ve found your dream apartment – don’t make it wait. Don’t forget that the market is particularly competitive so dilly-dallying is surely not an option. Many young people just like you are looking for their first apartment. Hence, be decisive. Which also means you should be ready with your photo ID, checkbook, Social Security number, and others that the landlord might need from you.

Have a guarantor.

Sometimes, a landlord will require a guarantor (otherwise known as a co-signer), especially for those who have only started working or those with no credit or apartment history. New grads often have their parents as their guarantors, who also have to prove that they have the financial capacity to fulfill the role.

Go through the fine print in detail.

Lastly, before you decide to get a certain apartment, ask the landlord to give you a photocopy of your lease agreement so you can study it beforehand. Of course, you shouldn’t sign unless every single line – especially the lease riders – is read and understood. Add-ons such as a cleaning fee after you move out has become quite common these days. If you make any spoken agreements with the landlord, get them in writing too. And upon moving in, create a report with photos of prior damage, and give a copy to your landlord. You don’t want to be liable for damage that came before you.

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