First-Time Renter’s Guide: 10 Essential Tips for a Smooth Rental Experience

Searching for a rental property can be seriously overwhelming at times. Trying to decide the best location, with the right amenities all while being a reasonable price for your budget can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack sometimes. Rest assured that there are ways that you can ease your stresses and find the perfect fit without compromising your peace of mind.

Budgeting your Cost of Living

The most important thing that you need to do before you pull up Google, is determine what your budget is. Once you narrow down what you can afford each month, you can then start your search for the property that fits your needs perfectly. Typically, property management companies will require that you make a certain income to be approved for the apartment. Requirements such as 3 or 4 times the rent amount is typically required to ensure that prospective tenants have the funds to pay their rent and tend to any outside costs and emergencies that may arise.

Early Bird gets the Worm

The earlier you begin your rental search, the more options that you will have in finding your perfect fit. Spring is typically the best time to search because people are more inclined to move and look for a new environment. If you call around to local rental offices during this time, you may find that they can narrow down what options will be available during your projected move time. You may even be able to be placed on a waiting list if nothing is currently available, that way you are the first one to be notified when something that matches your needs becomes available.

It’s Show Time!

Once you have established a few options that you may be interested in and are in your price range, it is time to start scheduling showings. Pictures can only show you so much of the property and it is important to view the property in person to get a better idea of the layout, the community, and the parking details. Anything that comes up that you may be concerned about, it is vital to bring these up when you are on the showing with the property manager or before the lease signing. You don’t want to move into a property that you aren’t 100% sure about.

Communication is Everything

Even as you sign your lease and start your move-in process, it is important to maintain communication with your property management team regarding anything that may pop up during this time. Items such as what utilities you need to have put in your name, when trash is to be picked up and how to place service issues if you need to in the future.

After Move In

When the chaos of moving households has finally settled, you can truly familiarize yourself with your community. You may feel comfortable reaching out to your neighbors to establish a neighborly relationship so that you can be familiar with the people around you. Checking out local communities can also be helpful to start to feel comfortable with your city and town area. You would be amazed at the number of different people and new friends you can make by just going to the local library or coffee shop. A sense of community can make or break whether you feel that area is safe for your family or not.

Be Courteous to Your Neighbors

If this is your first time renting and you are not used to having wall-to-wall neighbors, you should remember to be mindful of your noise levels at certain times of the evening and be sure that you are not disturbing the other tenants in your building. You would not want your neighbors to be banging loud music at 2 am if you must work at 7 am, so it is important to practice courteous practices in your building. Simple things like cleaning up after yourself and treating your neighbors like you would want to be treated and you will be sure to live in a harmonious environment.

Treat the Property with Respect

While you are in your rental property, it is also important that you take care of it. Keep your spaces clean and clutter-free so that pests are not drawn in. You should also report any service issues as they arise so that the property management team can get a maintenance technician out to solve the issue and prevent any ongoing issues.

When Moving Out

People typically do not stay in rentals for the long term, so there will come a time when you will move on from your rental unit, either from purchasing your home or just relocating in general. When this time comes, it is important to review your lease terms and determine what time you are required to give notice and give that notice in writing. You should leave your rental in clean and rentable condition for the next tenant. Leaving a good last impression is important because future landlords may reach out to your past landlords for a renter’s reference, and you want to make sure it is a good one.

Renting can have its difficulties; some are avoidable and others not so much. Preparing yourself for the search, the signing, and when you decide to leave will leave you feeling much less stressed than you would be if you were not prepared. Maintaining effective communication will go a long way when it comes to solving any issues that arise during your time as a tenant.

If you are looking for a new rental or know someone who is, reach out to Harvey Goodman’s office at 740-695-3131. Our property management team will be happy to help you find your perfect dream rental and guide you through the leasing process and through your time as a tenant.