Whether you’re fresh out of university or moving out of your parents’ place to go into full-on adult mode, renting a new place that you can call your own is probably one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself.
Guest post – Alex Morrison
While the idea of renting a new place and decorating it to your heart’s desire is exciting, renting your first ever property entails a lot of thought and preparation. One mistake can greatly jeopardise your finances, so you need to arm yourself with these tips to ensure a stress-free transition.
1. Look for a place that fits your budget
Moving into your dream apartment can instantly turn into a hell of a nightmare if your finances aren’t in check. Prior to looking for apartment options, you must first determine how much money you can actually afford to spend. Note that apart from the monthly rent, you also have to consider the monthly expenses once you’ve moved in. Most landlords also require you to pay up to three months’ worth of rent in advance, and a security deposit or bond.
It’s difficult to keep up with the expenses of moving into your first place, that’s why many people prepare their finances ahead of time before taking the plunge into searching and moving. If you’re having a hard time controlling your spending habits, you might want to lock away your dream house funds in a term deposit account to keep it secure. As long as your money is locked away in a term deposit, you won’t be able to touch it until the term has matured. This is a good way of safekeeping your money for your future plans of moving into your own place.
A good rule of thumb is your monthly rent should only be about 25-30% of your monthly income. Take time to check your budget to see if you’re financially capable of shouldering all these expenses before signing that rental agreement.
2. Read the fine print
You have to be sure that you understand everything that’s covered in your rental agreement or lease before signing on the dotted line. A rental agreement is a legally binding document, so there may be legal repercussions should you violate it. No one likes to read the fine print, but these contracts can be tricky if you’re not careful.
You must know what’s actually covered in your agreement, such as what will happen if you move out early, who’s responsible for house repairs, house insurance, HOA fees, and so on. Failure to do so may result in costly consequences.
3. Inspect the place personally
Photos in advertisements only show the best features of the house, so it’s crucial to do a thorough personal inspection before sealing the deal. Here are some things that you need to check:
Check all doors and windows
Make sure that all doors and windows can be opened and closed properly. Doors and windows need to be secured with proper locks and latches as they play a crucial role in keeping your home secure.
Check for stains
Stains could be a symptom of a much bigger problem, so it’s important to address this issue before you finalise your lease. Roof leaks, mould and mildew are some of the most common causes of wall and ceiling stains.
Check for holes and chips
Holes and chips on the ceiling, wood trimmings, cabinets, window sills and flooring may be an indication of a possible pest infestation. Pest control treatments can put a dent on your budget, so it’s best to steer clear of infested houses.
Check the plumbing features
Check if the water heater, toilet flush, shower, and other fixtures are in good working condition. Also, make sure that the house has no water supply issues.
Check power outlets and electrical fixtures
All power outlets and switches should also be in good working order as well. If possible, bring with you an electrician on your inspection to ensure that the electrical system in the house is in tiptop shape.
Viewing the rental property in person is important because you, as well as your landlord, need to be aware of any issues there may be. The last thing that you want to happen is to be liable for something that you’re not even responsible for to start with.
Moving house can be stressful and tiring, but the satisfaction of living in a place you can call your own is incomparable. Happy house hunting!