March 9, 2022

5 Tips For First Time Renters

Anh Hoang Pham

5 Tips For First Time Renters

Being a first-time renter is a big deal. It is when you are on your own and have the freedom to do what you want. It also means you need to take more responsibility, especially in terms of finance, as you will pay for services(such as utilities) that you are not used to paying. I have been in your shoes before, and did not know what I was doing. Here are some tips to make your first apartment living experience a great one.


#1: Budget wisely

Whenever want to spend more than you can afford on rent, it is recommended to spend about 30% of your gross income on rent. The 50/30/20 rule is another budgeting technique to follow, so you can save for the security deposit or first month’s rent. Remember to include all of your monthly expenses, and make room for unexpected costs when creating a budget. Living with a roommate can allow you to split your bills, helping you save money and stay within your budget.

#2: Determine your needs

You can make a checklist regarding your needs. Your apartment needs are very different from your apartment wants. They’re your must-haves, the features that will make you the most comfortable at home. If you don’t own a car, you’re going to need an apartment in walking distance of public transportation. Pet owners will need to find a pet-friendly community. What you prefer to have in your apartment or apartment community is considered a “want.” They’re on your wish list if you will, but you can live without them. Amenities like a swimming pool or chrome finishes typically fall within this area. Determine what your needs are first – and then be elated when your apartment comes with some of your apartment wants! It’s a great feeling when the universe works its magic for you.

#3: Take a tour of the apartment

Ask questions when you’re on a tour with the property manager. What’s your policy on package and mail receiving for residents? When are the neighborhood quiet hours? Ask about the parking policies. These are great questions to ask. Be sure to come up with a list of questions based on what’s important to you.

#4: Consider parking situation for you and your guests

Parking can sometimes be a hassle when you live in an urban area. You don’t want to have your car towed because you did not have knowledge about your parking violation. Many apartments close to the city have parking rules for their residents’ guests. Be sure you know the rules about visitors so that yours don’t accidentally take someone’s assigned spot! You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with your neighbors, do you?

#6: Read the application and lease agreement carefully

Renting an apartment for the very first time can be confusing. First-time renters generally don’t know all the jargon and the rental lingo used in the application and lease. Usually, the process is pretty simple and involving filling out an application, so do your research in advance and don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion when you don't know. Be familiar with what your lease agreement entails and don't hesitate when you have questions about your lease agreement. Once you sign that lease agreement, you can't change it. So make sure you have a clear idea of what the owner expects of you and what you expect of the owner!

#7: Befriend with your neighbors

Befriending your neighbors is an excellent way to get the most out of your first apartment. Getting acquainted with your neighbors can open up the lines of communication about having friends over later into the evening, so you can inform them about the noise ahead of time and avoid a passive-aggressive note on the door in the morning (but also be respectful of the quiet hours at your apartment). You’ll be more comfortable asking for neighborly favors, such as getting the mail when you’re out of town. If you ask for these favors, though, make sure you can return the favor!

Anh is a Psychology intern at the Thaddeus Resource Center, Agape House. She studied Psychology at San Jose State University and is currently working towards MFT licensure. She wants to help couples with their marriages and relationship issues. She enjoys movies and traveling.