Ready For Your First Apartment? What Every First-Time Renter Must Know

Moving out of your parent's home or the college dorm and into your very first rental apartment can be a wonderful and freeing experience. But along with the ability to arrange the furnishings and decorate the space as you choose comes the responsibility to care for your new home and meet the monthly rental payment, utilities, and other expenses that come with living on your own. If you are beginning to search for your very first apartment to rent and want it to be a positive, enjoyable experience, the following tips will help you be as prepared as possible before you sign the lease.

Choose an affordable apartment to rent

The first thing to consider when renting for the first time is the amount of the monthly rent and whether your current income is sufficient to comfortably meet this expense every month. Determine a comfortable amount for rent within your budget and make sure that you only look at apartment rentals within that price range. Allowing yourself to rent an apartment that is priced uncomfortably high for your budget will only add financial stress to your life and drain away much of the joy from your first experience of living on your own.

According to most financial experts, rent payments should account for only about 25 percent of your total pretax income, with approximately 8-10 percent more allotted for utilities and other housing related costs. Before setting out to look for your first rental apartment or home, remember that you will also need a substantial amount of additional money to cover necessary deposits for the rental, such as cleaning, pet fees, and first and last month's rent. In addition, you may also need money for deposits to turn on electricity, water, and sewer services, as well as possible fees for cable television, internet access, and security systems. 

Make sure the space you choose fits your furnishings

Once you have decided upon the price range for your rental and have the money you need to move forward, it will be time to begin looking for your new home. If possible, consider asking a parent to accompany you and help you look for potential issues or problems as you view available rentals. If you own large furnishings, such as a large bed, couch or other items, it is a good idea to measure them and take a list of this information with you, along with a tape measure when viewing rental homes or apartments. This will allow you to measure doorways, wall space, and hall ways to ensure that your items will fit through the doorways and inside the home. 

Keep these tips in mind when looking for apartments in your area.