How to Rent Your First Apartment - NYCM Insurance Blog

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May 22, 2023

How to Rent Your First Apartment

How to Find the Right Apartment

Moving into your first apartment may seem like an overwhelming undertaking at first glance. There can be a lot to learn as a first time renter including where to start to find the right apartment, how much you can expect to pay for rent, what utilities and services you require, and what is renters insurance.
But don’t panic! Renting a new space and making it your own is also an exciting chapter and rite of passage in one’s life. With a little bit of research and patience, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and set yourself up for success. Continue reading for our guide to renting your first apartment!

Create Your Budget

The first step in moving on to your own place is establishing a budget to see what you can afford. Grab a piece of paper and calculate your monthly income on the left side. On the right side, take note of any recurring expenses and bills, like a phone bill, as well as any expected future expenses, like internet and utilities, and add them up. Once you’ve established how much you’re earning versus how much you’re spending on a month-to-month basis, you can have an idea of how much money you have to work with to pay for rent.
It’s important to note that different landlords may include different services in your lease. As a result, things like electricity, trash removal, heat, and the internet may either be included in the price of your rent, or in addition to. Remember this when you’re making your budget and deciding how much you can afford to pay in rent.
While there can be no way to prepare for some events, try to factor in unexpected expenses that could occur, like potential vehicle repairs or medical bills when establishing your budget, to avoid ending up in a financial hardship. It’s also good to save where you can; even if you can afford a lavish apartment, you may thank yourself down the road for choosing a more modest option.

Pick a Location

Once you’ve established your budget, next you can decide where you’d like to live. There are a number of online tools you can use to find available apartments and houses for rent in a given location, and you may also have success finding vacant rental properties on social media or in classified advertising.
You will want to consider how much space you require when evaluating your options, including the number of beds and baths in the household. It’s likely that the bigger a rental unit is, the more expensive rent will be. And while you don’t want to end up renting a unit that’s insufficiently spaced for your needs, you also don’t want to end up overpaying for space you don’t need.
Also consider the distance of different rentals from places you frequent in your life, like your workplace, grocery stores and restaurants, businesses you like to patronize, and friends and family with whom you spend time. Would the location of your new residence be a help or a hindrance to your everyday life?

Determine Wants Versus Needs

Different apartments and landlords will have different rules pertaining to their units that will directly affect your experience as a tenant. Before you go searching through listings, determine the characteristics you want in an apartment versus those that you need in order to live comfortably and feel at home.
Do you have a pet who’s going to be making the move with you? Determine beforehand whether a pet-friendly apartment is a want or a need before you evaluate your options. Do you have a vehicle that requires a certain kind of storage for your own peace of mind? You may find that a secure garage is a key feature you’re looking for in your new rental home. Do you need the privacy of a standalone unit, or is a shared apartment building okay for your living situation? By answering these questions now, you can set your standards to sift through the listings with ease and find the apartment of your dreams!

Tour & Explore Your Options

Once you’ve found a listing that fits your standards and budget, you may feel inclined to sign the lease and get moved in as soon as possible. But it’s important not to jump into something as serious as signing a lease so quickly, and you should take the time to explore multiple options if you have them available to you to make the best decision possible.
Arrange a time to tour the apartments you like with the landlord and try to weigh the pros and cons of your options. Remember to consider the price of rent, the location, the terms of the lease, and your overall feel for the place. When you’re touring the apartments, ask yourself, ‘Can I make myself at home here?’
If the answer is no, take your time and find a place where you can feel excited about starting your next chapter. When picking out a new rental which will ultimately serve as the place you spend most of your time, don’t rush yourself. Moving into your own apartment is a momentous time; don’t feel like you need to rush!

Don’t Forget Renters Insurance!

When you’ve settled on a place and are prepared to sign your lease, remember to purchase Renters insurance to protect your belongings! Some landlords may require renters insurance in order to move into a unit, but a tenant should consider purchasing renters insurance anyways because it protects your property anywhere at an affordable price.
On average renters insurance is roughly $15 a month and offers worldwide coverage, meaning that your personal belongings are protected globally, no matter where you are. If your iPad is stolen out of your car, for example, you can be reimbursed for the cost of that iPad after your police report and claim have been filed (unless specifically excluded).
Renters insurance offers more unexpected benefits at a low-cost. Click below to read about six surprising things you might not know about renters insurance!