If you’re thinking about renting your first Palm Bay apartment, you may be equally excited and nervous. It makes sense to feel this way: in the end, there are many things to figure out, from finding the right place to making sure you can afford it and everything in between. Make apartment hunting easier by scheduling some important things in advance. By following these simple steps now, you may be able to find and rent your first apartment like a pro in no time.
Crunch the Numbers
Before you start your apartment search, you need to figure out how much you can afford. To do this, you’ll have to generate a monthly budget that shows all of your income and expenses. Then you can calculate how much rent you can afford. A good guideline is to keep your apartment rent at about 30% of your income after taxes. Calculate the exact dollar amount. Now take a look at your budget. Do you have adequate money left over after your other expenses to cover that amount? If not, you may need to take some added steps before you’re prepared to start apartment hunting.
Look Beyond the Rent
Figuring out how much monthly rent you can afford is a wonderful first step, but there are other costs involved that you need to be ready for. Most of the time, you will need to pay a security deposit upfront along with the first month’s rent. The amount of this security deposit will vary, but it is often the same amount as the rental payment.
There may also be other deposits and fees, plus credit check fees, utility deposits, and additional expenses. Plus, you’ll need to find out if utilities are included in the rent or if you will be responsible for paying for your own. Internet, cable, electricity, gas, water, and trash disposal are all common utilities that you’ll need to have enough money to get set up if they aren’t included in the rent. To make things easier, you could think of it this way: you’ll need to have at least 2 – 3 months of rental payments saved up to guarantee that you have what you need to get into your first apartment.
After you’ve got your finances figured out, it’s time to start searching and applying for your first apartment. It’s a good idea to have your application materials prepared before you begin so that when you find a place you like, you’re ready to get that application done promptly. To rent an apartment, you’ll need a list of documents and information.
While this list may vary from place to place, it’s a good idea to have the following available:
- Your last two pay stubs or a bank statement
- Social security number
- Driver’s license or state ID
- Credit report
- Contact information for at least two references
Read the Lease
As you’re going through the rental process, carefully read through all of your lease documents – counting the fine print. A lease is a binding legal contract, which means that once you sign it, you will be on the hook for everything that’s in it. Have a clear understanding of your responsibilities, what your landlord will provide, how things like maintenance and repairs will work, and so on. Also, check that the rental payment amount, security deposit amount, and other numbers are correct.
Finally, check for any unusual or unexpected rules or clauses to make sure that you are comfortable following the rules stated in the lease. If you have questions about anything you find in your lease, be sure to ask someone you trust. In fact, the more you know about the apartment, the neighborhood, and your landlord before you rent from them, the better off you will be.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.