Apartment hunting is never easy.
Moving is even worse, however, so it’s important to approach the rental process armed with the necessary knowledge and tools to aid in the process.
We’ve gathered all the most important and necessary tips for you to ask yourself before renting a new apartment!
Question 1: What is your budget?
At the end of the day, money rules the world, and your budget will greatly determine your options for your new apartment.
Most landlords use your annual income as a measuring stick for rent; experts at Fortune recommend that your rent does not exceed about one third of your annual income.
So, for example, say you’re interested in this 1bd, 1ba listed in Los Angeles on Poplar Homes, At $1,995 a month, you will pay approximately $23,940 each year. That means your annual salary ($23,490 x 3) should at least exceed $71,820 in order for you to safely and comfortably budget your finances.
Nothing is worse than moving into a beautiful new home that makes you house poor, barring any future enjoyment. Instead, budget correctly, and you can have your cake and eat it too!
Question 2: How do I budget utilities?
Don’t forget to consider other expenses (such as food and beverage, entertainment, etc.) when creating your budget, because they will greatly shape your monthly spending.
Utilities will also take a big chunk, and you should take into account anything within the unit that could further increase costs. For example, a western facing unit with direct sunlight will drastically increase your cooling bills, especially in warmer areas.
Question 3: What upfront costs will I need to pay?
When moving, many make the mistake of budgeting for the rental truck… and not much else. Moving is a costly process, and there are many costs to consider beyond the security deposit and rental fees.
Once you settle into your new place, your new utility providers will likely require an initial deposit. Your property manager should be able to provide more information on what exactly to expect.
Question 4: Do I need a cosigner?
If you are a new renter or have subpar credit (typically a credit score of 600 or less, according to The Mortgage Reports), a cosigner may be necessary. A cosigner assumes financial responsibility for the entirety of your lease, regardless of whether they physically live there. It is an extra layer of protection for homeowners when dealing with new renters or renters who have a less than stellar rental history.
If you do not have a cosigner, sometimes landlords will accept an additional payment upfront for added security. Character references will also serve as a helpful alternative to rental references.
How Poplar Homes offers a seamless rental experience
Apps like Poplar Homes are fantastic for finding your new dream rental. Within the app, you can contact landlords or property management to inquire about availability, set up a tour, and discuss details.
The other great thing about Poplar Homes is that it breaks down the expenses and fees into a simple format that is easy for prospective renters to understand, to include any applicable application fees.
Typically, a deposit accompanies a signed lease and usually is equivalent to one month’s rent, if not slightly more. Credit and rental history can also impact the required deposit.