10 Tips First-Time Apartment Renters Can’t Afford To Overlook
Renting your first apartment is a huge milestone – a moment to celebrate for sure. However, as a first-time renter, finding the perfect rental for your situation can be an ordeal. How do you make sure the rental process goes smoothly and with minimal (or no) obstacles in the way?
The good news is that there are many resources available to guide you through the apartment rental process. To get you started, here are some tips to keep in mind as a first-time renter.
1. Determine how much rent you can afford
One very important first step to finding the right apartment is deciding how much you can comfortably spend, based on your income.
According to Manisha Thakor, director of women’s wealth strategies at BAM Alliance, a rule of thumb is that rent should be no more than a quarter of your take-home pay. If you follow this method and earn $4,000 a month, you’ll want to find rentals that charge no more than $1,000 a month.
Another formula for determining affordable rent is to divide your annual household salary by 40. This calculation stems from landlords who want to screen out tenants who can comfortably pay their rent. So if your gross annual income (i.e., before taxes) is $60,000, you’ll want to look for rentals that charge no more than $1,500.
2. Give yourself time to find rentals that meet your criteria
Finding an apartment can take anywhere from 30 to 90 days, depending on the level of competition in the local rental market. To avoid “panic renting” or settling for any apartment, it’s best to give yourself enough time to check out different rentals and find the best option.
Once you’re ready to start your search, use apps and websites like Realtor® to view rentals near you – all filtered by location, price, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, property type, and more. You can also filter out listings that are no longer accepting applications to avoid inquiring about unavailable apartments.