Rent the perfect place without getting punched in the face!
Ask these 5 key questions to find your perfect affordable apartment.
Getting your first apartment is really exciting. However, besides rent, there are many other monthly costs. These can vary drastically between rentals, so be sure to ask – don’t assume anything! Here is a short 5 question checklist you need answers to. #party@myplace
Hot water isn’t free? Wait … What??
Additionally, there may be other costs like laundry, gym use, parking and/or homeowner association fees. If you are renting a house or duplex, you will probably be responsible for taking care of the yard – watering/maintaining the landscape and mowing the lawn.
Where are you getting your toilet paper? Do you have a bed? Cleaning supplies? How about a broom or vacuum? All stuff you will need when you have your own place. And don’t forget renter’s insurance – it will cover your stuff if something happens like a fire or theft – and many landlords require it (Sherpa estimate $150-$200/year).
Sherpa guideline: don’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on your total apartment costs. Be aware that some landlords require that your income be 40x the monthly rent (annual salary $/40 = monthly rent $).
Stop by in the evening to check area lighting. Is there adequate parking? Once you move in, you will be coming and going at all different times. If it feels sketchy during the day, it will feel really sketchy at night.
Take a Hike:
If you are ready to look for your first apartment, call three different rentals and compare the costs. Answer each of the 5 questions above and build a simple table to compare each. Pick your best place. #whoskillingthespider
Additionally, online tools like Trulia (https://www.trulia.com/) provide rental listings and crime statistics for the neighborhood you are interested in.
OK, you found the perfect place…read this before you sign a lease (future topic).