Here’s What You Need to Rent Your First Apartment
Not sure what you’ll need before renting your first apartment? We’ve got you covered!
Sometimes your heart loves an apartment, but your bank account isn’t on board. Go ahead and set a budget before you start your search so you don’t fall in love with something beyond your realistic price point. Don’t just factor in the base cost of monthly rent. Include anticipated utility bills like trash, water, and electricity, and decide whether you’ll pay for cable and wifi, and don’t forget renter’s insurance! Better to be overprepared and find a place where utilities are included in the rent than be caught off guard by your utility expenses.
Even if you aren’t partial to a particular neighborhood or area of town, location is a huge factor in choosing your first apartment. You’ll want to make sure the location is convenient for your lifestyle, is safe, and is affordable.
When choosing a location, consider the following:
- How is the commute between home, work, and/or school?
- What else is nearby? Grocery stores? Friends?
- Do you feel safe? What is the neighborhood like after 10 pm?
- What are your priorities? Proximity to work? Walkability? Good parking?
Don’t forget, if you’re particular about your location, it could affect how much space you’ll get in your budget. Plan accordingly and schedule times to see at least five apartments in your preferred area so you can get an accurate idea of how far your dollar will go.
Chances are if this is your first apartment (or even second or third), it’s probably not going to be a sprawling penthouse, but depending on your location, you might be able to afford more space than you realize. That said, you might not need as much space as you’d think! If you plan on having roommates, you’ll want some more room, so make sure having roommates is worth sacrificing some privacy. If you’d rather not have roommates, consider a smaller space to save yourself some cash. Depending on your lifestyle, you’ll want to make sure you have enough space for your basic furniture pieces, room to comfortably entertain guests, and at least a little bit of storage space.
Do you want access to a pool or outdoor living area? What about an on-site fitness center or a discounted membership at a stand-alone gym? If you have pets or plan on having them, are there any perks for pet owners like a dog park or grooming station? Don’t forget about your laundry! Most newer apartment complexes offer in-unit laundry options and even machine rentals, but not all do. If you like a unit that doesn’t include in-unit washer and dryer hookups, be sure to check out the community laundry amenities before you commit.
Community restrictions and regulations
Speaking of pets, be sure to ask about the complex’s policy regarding pet ownership. Are there additional fees? What’s the pet deposit? Are there breed or size restrictions? These are particularly important questions if you’re already a pet parent! You don’t want to fall head over heels for the perfect place only to learn your dog or cat isn’t allowed. Several apartment complexes don’t allow breeds like German Shepherds, Great Danes, Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers on their premises due to size and/or liability reasons.
The application process
Unfortunately, just because you’ve decided on a place doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. You’ll need to apply for approval with the leasing office or landlord before you can start planning a move-in date. For most applications, you’ll need the following:
- Proof of income, like pay stubs, bank statements, or tax returns
- Proof of residency, like your driver’s license or passport
- Social security number (so the leasing office can run a credit report and view your credit history)
- References, both personal and professional – be sure to get accurate phone numbers and email addresses from your references.
- Job history
- A checkbook or debit card for a security deposit and potentially application fees
Now, since this is your first apartment, you might not have a rental history or list of prior landlords or leasing offices to use as references, but often professional and personal references will do the trick. Leasing offices need to know that you are reliable and responsible. You can also ask a parent or guardian to co-sign a lease with you, stating that they will take responsibility for the lease should you fail to make your payments. Your rental application is primarily an opportunity for landlords and or a property’s management company to determine whether or not you will pay the rent on time, honor the terms and conditions of your lease, and if it’s a good idea to approve you for residency on their property.
With multiple living communities around Winston-Salem, NC, you’re sure to find a property that fits your lifestyle with Parr Investments. All of our properties are have 2 bed, 2 bath and 1 bed, 1 bath options, are pet-friendly, and feature in-unit laundry hook-ups, a pool and outdoor living area, and a fitness center.