Moving can be an expensive process, and preparation is the key to a successful move. Focus on your budget, turn to your friends and family for help, and be realistic about your expectations to make this move enjoyable.
When searching for a new home to rent, it is natural to start looking based on rent prices. The initial price might not look like a stretch, but down the road, you might realize you’re struggling to keep up. Keep your new rental home search around a budget you can afford. Tip: Having a roommate will reduce the cost of rent. It will not only make it less expensive, but it also gives you more freedom in selecting your next rental. Before you make a decision regarding a roommate, make sure you are prepared to live with a roommate, as it is not for everyone.
Another important thing to remember is what day of the month your rent is due. This will help calculate how much money is going in and out and during what time of the month (and also helps avoid late fees). Consider online budget tracking apps such as; Mint.com, Budget Tracker, and Duck Software’s Budget Tracker. All three apps are free and can help you manage your expenses. Check with the apartment community or property owner about paying rent online to avoid missing a payment.
Make sure to ask the property manager or owner which, if any, utilities are included. Renters commonly pay for water, electric, and gas. Trash removal is usually included in rent price unless stated otherwise by the property owner or apartment community, but it always good to double check. It is common for leasing staff or the property owner to provide you with companies that you should use for utilities. Call those utility companies and give them the address you’re considering renting, then ask for an estimate. This will help you see how much utilities could cost you each month living in that particular rental property and save you from panic in those first few months.
A great website & app resource to see all your balances and transactions together: Mint.com
An effective money management tool / app designed to keep track of all your transactions and bank accounts: Budget Tracker
Check Your Credit
Once you understand how much you can afford it’s a great idea to check your credit rating, as it’s one of the first things your new landlord or property owner is likely to do once you’ve applied. The government mandates that the primary credit companies provide a free credit report to consumers once a year, the easiest way to get that report is using the Federally recommended Annual Credit Report site.
If you have good to great credit, you generally have nothing to worry about. If your credit has any issues, you may need to find a co-signer on any lease, but don’t assume a relatively clean credit sheet with a few blemishes is always a concern. Having a steady income, good references and a pleasant and polite disposition can, in many cases, make up for a less than a stellar credit report. In any case, be ready to explain the reasons behind your credit score to potential landlords if it’s low, and what you’re doing to improve and fix it.
Where Do You Want to Live?
First, understand where you want to live, then use Internet listing websites, such Homes.com, to help make your search process easier. Looking online can be very beneficial because it is quick and easy, plus it shows more property listings and details including some with online video tours to help you tour the apartment ahead of time, an estimate of commute time to work, and walking distances to restaurants and entertainment.
Read location-specific articles to find out more about each location, fitness options, coffee shop selections and restaurant choices. Tap into your network of family and friends for apartment community or rental home recommendations. Ask about positive and negative experiences so you can be fully informed. Asking for advice from knowledgeable friends and other renters will only help you make better choices on your hunt for the perfect home.
Rental properties vary considerably, and costs of renting apartments, condos and houses can also span 1,000s of dollars. Doing your research upfront, with an eye to affordability is key to not only narrowing down your choices but also enjoying your new home.
How to be Realistic About Affordability
Be informed – issues may happen while renting an apartment or home, such as maintenance problems, noisy neighbors, etc.
Problems are to be expected and easily adjusted; you just need to be prepared. create a checklist of what you do and don’t want in a rental, and take that checklist with you on your tours. The more research you’ve done, the more prepared you will be for this process.
- Moving is expensive; therefore, start off right by finding an apartment or rental home that you can see yourself living in for years to come.
- Pay attention to details when taking a tour of the apartment or rental home. Keep in mind that moving involves moving furniture, and not all furniture will fit through every doorway.
- Consider factors such as distance to work, friends, and family. The Homes.com Rental App allows you to do this right from your mobile phone. Download the app!
- Plan ahead and keep in mind whether or not you might need space down the road for a roommate, or could monetize your home through crowdsources services.
- Most importantly… known your budget and costs involved. Finding the home you love then finding you can’t afford it is the worst scenario in the home rental process.
Visit Areas & Neighborhoods
If you’re moving near to where you currently live, or you’re moving for work or other opportunities, you may want to invest time, money and energy into visiting the general area where you’re relocating and scout out different neighborhoods for alignment with work, play and local services.
Your online research may give you some great insights into affordable areas, but walking around those locations may bring either a reality check or a relief that the online information is incorrect or a perfect description.
Walking in likely areas may also surface ‘for rent’ signs and offer opportunities to view