Top 10 Renting Mistakes For Beginners

Getting your own place is a new chapter in life that everyone looks forward to, and certainly one of the most exciting times. Along with moving there are often times some mistakes that can be made that will dampen your otherwise smooth living experience. We decided to take a little time and put together a list of the top 10 renting mistakes for beginners, and you're in luck because they are listed below. Check them out now!

1. Can You Afford It?

Before you begin your hunt for your ideal apartment, your budget is the first thing you should look into. Thoroughly go through your finances and look at what you can afford to pay for rent every month. A general rule of thumb is that your earnings should be 2.5 times more than what you pay in rent. (For example if your rent is $925/Month, you'd want at least $2,300/month in income)  Consider your other expenses such as groceries, student loans or car payments / insurance. You don't want to feel like you have to constantly be on a budget to live or get by.

Once you've got your first set of payments sorted, look into what expenses are included with rent and what can be added on. Also take into consideration that rent prices generally grow over time due to increased property values and inflation. This means that what may help you get by this year, will not be enough next year if your rent increases and your salary stays the same.

2. Roommates With No Contract

Taking on a roommate to share the housing costs is a great idea unless you do it without an agreement or contract. Without a clear agreement and understanding of how costs will be divided up frustration can begin to form over time between the tenants.

A roommate agreement should always include expectations and duties required, such as when rent and utility bills will be paid. You must also determine the kind of chores being done, as well as how groceries and household bills will be shared. You should also set some ground rules on visitors and quiet hours.

Setting clear guidelines will prevent conflicts that could make the home toxic.

3. No Walkthrough Before Renting

Not doing a walkthrough could end up being one of the bigger mistakes of the bunch. There are many things that can be found during this phase that will need repaired. Take a clipboard with you and walk around. Jot down anything that may end up causing an issue either financially or with the normal use of the home. The landlord will be sure to work with you in resolving these issues. If you do not ask for them to be resolved, or notice the issue yourself there is a chance someone else hasn't noticed either. So do not hesitate to let your landlord know, and do a walkthrough before moving in. 

4. Not Checking Out the Neighborhood

Scope out the neighborhood to the best of your abilities to make sure it fits your needs and is suitable for your lifestyle. Take a note of the access to transportation, your workplace, grocery stores and restaurants as well as any other conveniences. When you're scouring a place to live make sure it's close to your workplace so you wont have costs building up daily due to a long commute.

Another thing to check out in the neighborhood are community facilities, amenities and crime rates. Make sure the area is safe by talking to the neighbors. Check out nearby police stations, gas stations and clinics for all your necessities and emergencies. And before moving in it is always a good idea to check out the schools that are nearby (if you have children that will be attending them).

5. Size vs. Layout

The layout of a home can be a big deal breaker, because regardless of how large a space is in square footage, the planning and design of a space is what makes it comfortable. When you do your walkthrough make sure to notice whether or not your furniture will fit and notice how the rooms are connected so you can picture what your daily routine would look like. If you need to bring a ruler with your measurements and check it out for yourself. Better safe than safe...

6. Renters Insurance

This may seem like something you don't need but you never know when it will come in handy. Landlords have insurance to protect their property against fires and natural disasters, but these won't cover your personal belongings. Getting renters insurance will protect your personal valuables in the case of unforeseen circumstances. Policies are relatively inexpensive and can range from $100 to $300 per year, and the peace of mind they provide is well worth it.

7. Amenities

Pay attentions to what amenities come with the property you are interested in renting. Does it have a refrigerator? A stove? Washer and dryer? Do you need these things or have them? This plays an huge role in the home you choose to rent. Of course you will notice on a walkthrough if there are some things, but be sure to read the listings and ask questions!

8. Landlord Communication

Always establish open communication with your landlord so that if any issues come up you will be able to make contact without second-guessing. Make sure you know how to get into contact with your landlord and be sure to understand the terms of your rental agreement and who is responsible for what.

This can range from a clogged drain to changing light fixtures.

9. Not Documenting Rental Condition Upon Moving In

Conducting a walkthrough before signing your lease lets you know about the condition of your home, but documenting every nook and cranny, especially damages or wear and tear will benefit you in the future in the case of any dispute claims when you move out. Make sure to take pictures and videos for backup.
Having this written and visual condition report will help you resolve any potential disputes with your landlord when you move out as well as for your security deposit.

10. Late Rent

While it's common knowledge to pay your rent on time, sometimes you can't help it. It's important to remember that paying your rent late can impact your credit score and lead to eviction. Aside from this, some landlords can charge a late fee that can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 per day. In the situation that something comes up and you know you will be late with your rent, let your landlord know beforehand so you can work something out.

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