Guide to renting for the first time
If you’re looking for a place to rent for the first time, it’s likely that you’ve never lived alone. It’s natural to feel excitement and anxiety! But, it’s best not to make an emotional decision that you’ll regret. We’ve got you. This guide will help you know what to prioritize and what to keep in mind when heading into your first property rental.
Set a Budget
The first step in looking for a rental is knowing what you can afford. It’s always fun to look up luxurious places in your area, but when you’re seriously looking for a property to rent, only consider ones within your price range (I’m guilty of doing the ‘luxury apartment rentals’ scroll).To determine your price range, develop a personal budget. Allocate income to all your different financial needs – personal expenses, savings, etc. Be honest and conservative in this process. The last thing you want is to sign a year-long lease for a place that ends up being too expensive.
Make Sure it Fits Your Most Pressing Needs
It’s important to know that the chances of a place having EVERYTHING you want while being within your price range are very slim. Thus, write out a list of things you ideally want and don’t want in a property. From there, divide them into groups like ‘nice to have’, ‘must have’, and ‘deal breakers’. This will aid in finding the things you value most while ensuring that you’re looking past details that aren’t very important. Although if you were to include something like a ‘Fancy Chandelier’ in your ‘Must Haves’ list, we wouldn’t judge.
Check Out the Place and Its Surroundings
Always visit a place, preferably in person, before you decide to rent. With modern photo editing, it’s very easy for a lister to post photos of a spotless, perfect rental, when in reality it may be much less glamorous. And make sure to document all damages, wear and tear, and other issues you can identify when moving in. You’ll need this later if the property owner accuses you of causing damage to the property that you know was there before you moved in. Take pictures and include dates on any documentation of wear and tear you find.
It’s also smart to consider the surroundings and location of the property. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- What is the neighbourhood like?
- How is public transportation in the area?
- Are there lots of things to do nearby?
- How far is your work?
Being observant and doing your research will give you a better understanding of where you’re potentially moving.
Read ALL the Fine Print
Although it can seem like a pain, take that half hour to read through the entirety of your lease. It’s well worth it. Many clauses in your lease will be standard for the area, but some sections may have been changed by the landlord. Make sure you’re comfortable with everything in the contract, especially related to liability, who is responsible for repairs, property rules, rent increases, and more. If you have any concerns with something in the contract, bring them up with the landlord and/or talk with someone you know who has experience renting.
Get Renters Insurance
One thing many first-time renters don’t know about is renters insurance. Renters insurance is usually very affordable and although exact coverage is plan-specific, it will generally cover:
- Damage/loss of your personal property in the event of any break-ins or disasters
- Liability for accidental damages to other property or injuries that occur on the property
- Expenses if the property you rent becomes uninhabitable and you need to leave.
Renters Insurance is a lifesaver and will help protect you from significant losses that may occur through no fault of your own.
- Only seriously consider renting a property that is within your budget.
- Organize or rank your wants and needs for a potential property, and use that to find what best fits.
- Read over your entire lease thoroughly and/or get someone who has experience with leases to go over it with you
You’ve got this!