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Blog November 13, 2021

What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment for the First Time

Posted in Moving 101
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

The prospect of getting your place is simultaneously frightening and exciting for most, but it’s a step every person must take on their road to adulthood. However, it implies more than just finding the right condo for you. So, what do you need to rent an apartment for the first time? Read our guide, and you’ll find out everything you should know for signing the first lease.

Preparation

When getting organized to move, one of your first concerns will be your future living situation. Relocating from a house to an apartment and leaving the comfort of your family’s home isn’t always an easy decision and can, at times, seem daunting. After all, there won’t be anyone to worry about the bills and deal with neighbors that complain about everything on your behalf. But if it scares you, it might be a good thing to try, as Seth Godin once said. And we are here to help you do it.

Money Makes the World Go Round (So Ensure to Have Enough)

Rents depend not only on the state you’re relocating to but also the city and even the neighborhood you choose. Keep in mind that the average price in the States is around $1,100. However, did you know that you’ll need to provide more than $3000 a month if you want to live in a one-bedroom condo in cities such as NYC and San Francisco? It’s a pretty hefty sum, you would agree. And that is not all – you’ll have to cash out the first and the last month’s rent (second only sometimes) and the security deposit. And what about the cost of utilities, transportation, and food? Yes – adulthood will not go easy on you.

One of the things to do before the relocation is to create a relocation budget. Don’t forget to count on the expenses of getting cross-country moving services. Luckily for you, we have a little catch that can help you save on relocation costs as well as renting! Remember that winter is the best time of the year to move. Because there is low demand in both the relocation and renting industry during the winter season, prices tend to be lower.

Getting a Roommate Might Be a Blessing for Your Finances

Today, more than 30% of adult US citizens live or have lived with a roommate, and it’s a trend that keeps increasing. Financial challenges millennials meet nowadays lead many of them to opt for shared space. So, when planning a move to another city, consider having a roommate as one way of reducing expenses. Make a deal with your friends if you’re relocating with them. If you’re relocating to another state alone, find a reliable stranger to share a condo with them. Check for recommendations or visit some of the best websites for finding roommates. And after you make sure you won’t go bankrupt in a new city, it’s time to start searching for the best cross-country movers that will relocate you there.

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Good Research Is Necessary Before Opting for a Rental

No one in the right mind will move into the first condo that catches their eyes just like that. If you wish to find the best apartments, you must keep all options open and do your due diligence. Of course, if you have friends and family in the area you’re relocating to, ask them if they know someone who’s renting. Maybe they have heard of some good apartments on the market recently.

Next, you should go through apartments on various websites that will allow you to set your pierce range and desired location. Start with some of the most popular sites such as Zillow or, for example, Trulia. Stay on the pages that are proven to be safe. Aside from relocation scams, you’ll also have to be aware of scammers in the real-estate industry. Just make sure you don’t leave your personal information until you meet the owner and/or property manager and see the place.

If possible, you should visit the condo before you submit your application. After hiring long-distance movers, getting packing services, and relocating, you can always opt for additional storage services for your belongings until you find your dream home.

Explore Cities and Neighborhoods Before You Choose an Area

It’s not only apartments that demand research. You should also check their environments – an environment that doesn’t suit you can negatively affect your daily mood and even lead to severe depression after the move. Here are some things to consider when relocating to a new state and city:

  • Cost of living – if you’re moving to a big city, you’re going to meet a higher cost of living than if you’re relocating to a small town.
  • Nearby amenities – if you’re a gym enthusiast, for example, ensure that you’ll have some around your new home.
  • Transportation and commuting – ensure that it won’t take you too much to get from home to work.
  • Preferable lifestyle – are you moving after college and looking for some of the best cities for college graduates, or relocating with your family and searching for spaciousness and safety?
  • Crime rates – your safety must be one of your primary concerns.

Prepare a List of Questions for Your Landlord

And finally, before you submit your application, you must be absolutely sure that it has everything you look for. Remember – once you sign a rental agreement, you are legally obliged to honor it. There can be many questions to ask before renting an apartment, but ensure to check the most important ones, such as:

  • What is the length of the lease?
  • What credit score do you need to rent an apartment? If your credit score doesn’t fulfill the requirement, don’t waste money on the application fee.
  • Are pets allowed? If you are moving with a dog or a cat, for example, your new place must be pet-friendly.
  • Will you be assigned parking space? If you opt to get auto transport services and move your vehicle cross-country, dedicated parking space can save you a lot of time (and money).
  • Are there any limits of occupancy? It’s important if you want to search for a roommate after a while or decide to share a place with your significant other.
  • Who is responsible for the maintenance?
  • How old do you have to be to rent an apartment? Although there shouldn’t be any age limit, a landlord can demand some requirements younger renters can’t comply with.
  • What is the average price of the utilities, and are they all on you?
  • Are there any online or automatic payment systems?
If you plan on bringing your furry friends, check only apartments that allow them

What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment – Application Process and All the Documentation Required

So, you’ve found the ideal place for you? Good job! But know that you’re not the only one doing the choosing – you also must be the chosen one. And in order for the owner (or property manager) to even see you as a suitable candidate, you must introduce yourself as one. We provide you with a step-by-step guide on the requirements to rent an apartment and how to meet them.

#1 Step – Bring a Proof of Identity

First and foremost, landlords and property managers will want to make sure that you’re not posing as somebody else. That is why you must bring a copy of a document that can prove your identity. Keep in mind that a valid driver’s license can be enough. After it, landlords will ask for you to provide some basic personal info and the way to contact you (phone number, e-mail, and alike)

#2 Step – Show That You’re Financially Secured

The biggest concern for all the landlords and property managers is if their tenants will be able to meet payment requirements each month. That’s why your landlord will often request a copy of your pay stubs for the last couple of months. But what if you’re a freelancer and work independently? A copy of your bank statements or tax returns should do the job. In both cases, a landlord will usually expect your income to be at least three times the rent’s amount.

Owners and property managers can also ask for proof of stable employment. However, when hiring East Coast movers or West Coast movers and relocating across the country, steady work and income are not always possible. You can either try to get a job in a new city before relocating there or consider having a co-signer for your lease. A co-signer is a person legally responsible for making all the payments if you fail to do it.

A co-signer is there to take financial responsibility if you happen to miss any payment

#3 Step – Approve Credit and Background Checks

Your future landlord or property manager will often ask you to authorize a credit score check. A credit score is a number from 300 to 850 that gives information about your creditworthiness. It is based on your payment history, debt, types of accounts you have, and alike. Aside from steady income, landlords usually demand a score over 620 to consider you a serious candidate. However, even if you have a poor credit score, it’s not all lost. A co-signer can be your joker in this situation, as well.

A background check is there as proof of your good character and mustn’t be done without your knowledge. However, when you’re being asked about your social security number, don’t hesitate to hand it over because it’s used for this purpose. If some part of your past can represent a problem, it’s always better to inform a landlord upfront about it than let them find out on their own.

#4 Step – Provide a Compensation for Rental History

Rental history and references from your previous landlords are there to show you in light of an excellent tenant – that you have no eviction, finish your payment on time, don’t have problems with other tenants, and so on. Since you wouldn’t have a rental history at all, prepare personal references from some established individuals from your surroundings (boss, supervisors, professor, and alike). A co-signer can be helpful in this case, too, if your rental history is non-existent.

#5 Step – Pay the Apartment Application Fee

This fee is non-refundable and usually between $50 and $70. You should ensure that you meet all the requirements before submitting the application, so there is no money wasted. If you’re not relocating alone, keep in mind that it depends on the landlord’s policy if each person must pay the fee or there will be one payment for all.

Don’t forget to count the application fee in the renting expenses

What to Do After You Get Approved?

After you apply, you should wait for the landlord to contact you and inform you about his/her decision. Sure, it can add to your relocation stress, but it’s all part of the process. And when you’re notified that you got the condo, celebrate! However, your journey doesn’t end there. A thing or two are left to be done yet.

Firstly, you must read your lease very carefully – once you sign it, there’s no going back. Pay special attention:

  • Deposits you’re expected to pay – in some cases, there will be other kinds than the security deposit. If you’re relocating with pets, for example, in some states, you’ll have to pay a refundable pet fee prior to your move.
  • Good condition clarification – if you want a deposit back, the condo must be left in good condition. The lease should specify what it means precisely (see if you can hang pictures, paint walls, and the like).
  • Early termination fees – if you decide to terminate a lease early, some owners expect financial compensation.

Secondly, you should get renter’s insurance. It’s one of the most important things to do after relocation if you want to secure yourself, your belongings, and your new home. In the case of an unexpected accident, theft, or fire, your insurance will have you all covered. If you’re interested to find out more about it, don’t miss the following video:

Have You Gathered the Courage to Move Out Yet? If So, Ensure to Hire the Best Long-Distance Moving Company

Now when the What do I need to rent an apartment questions are answered, you should start thinking about the move itself. Search for high-quality long-distance moving services in your area and book a company as soon as possible! Remember, as well as all good apartments, good companies are in high demand. Don’t make one of the worst relocation mistakes and wait too long. Make a call and secure a stress-free move!

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