Editor's Note: This a guest post from Darlene Mase at Zumper.
Oh, the excitement of moving into your first apartment. Finally getting your own space, even if you share it with roommates, is a major milestone. But amidst all that excitement, first time renters find themselves swimming in a sea of lease terms and new expesnes.
So, in the spirit of making things easy, we have some tips to help first time renters navigate their way through locking down their first apartment.
Consider a co-signer
There are some perameters you have to meet in order to secure a lease on an apartment — most of them coming down to how strong your finacnes are. After all, a landlord wants to make sure you can pay the rent. One way they consider your standing is by looking at your credit.
Credit is one of those things that takes a while to build up. If you don't have credit yet, or it's damaged from mistakes along the way, that doesn't mean all hope is lost. Renting an apartment with no credit is possible, especially if you have a co-signer.
A cosigner is a third party who agrees to take the financial responsibility if you fail to uphold your end of the contract. Keep in mind, your co-signer will probably need to have strong credit.
Thoroughly read & understand the lease
We live in a time when everyone checks the “I agree to the terms and conditions” box knowing full well they have no idea what the terms and conditions are. Don’t make the mistake of using that same approach when it comes to your lease.
Take your time to read and understand the lease agreement. If you have any concerns, address them with the landlord before signing.
Make sure everyone is on the lease
You may be moving in with a roommate or two. It can be tempting to omit additional people from the lease because landlords and leasing offices usually require an additional application fee for each person. But don't take this shortcut. If you don't list a roommate on the lease, they can skip out on rent and you'll be left responsible for footing the bill.
Here are six foolproof ways to avoid a bad roommate situation.
Think big picture
Consider where your apartment is located and how close it is to places you frequent. Even if you find a place with the perfect view and an amazing closet, it won't be that great when you have to spend an hour commuting to work. Think about the proximity to the gym, grocery store, loved ones and any other important places. Yes, you want a lovely apartment, but you want something that is near all the important stuff, too.
Plan for upfront expenses
After signing your lease, you'll probably need first month's rent and a security deposit, which is typically equivalent to a month’s rent. If your apartment set up does not include utilities, you will have to call and have those connected. Most companies charge startup fees, installation fees, or sign-up fees for new services, so this is something else to add to your budget.
Once you know you are moving, it can be tempting to go out and buy up everything at Ikea, but refrain. You only really need a few essentials when you first move in: a bed, linens, utensils, etc. If you go buy more than the essentials right away, you may find you don’t have space for everything or don't need the things you got. In the process, you've hurt your budget.
Waiting to make the majority of your purchases means your load will be a lot lighter on move-in day.