How To Rent An Apartment
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How to Rent an Apartment

The first time you walk into an apartment, it’s a thrilling journey. Knowing what you’re doing is not only exciting – it’s crucial! So here are a few steps to solving the issue of leasing.

Step One: Find an Apartment Fitting Your Budget.

The idea of having a place to live seems as simple as going on Apartments.com, taking a tour, and moving in. But imagine you’ve been back to work for a while before you realize you’re in over your head. Then you realize you can’t afford your new place after eating ramen for every meal and keeping the lights off. How did you go wrong? You had a budget. Okay, you went above and beyond on those floor-to-ceiling windows. At first glance, you fell in love and knew you would have to make it work somehow.

When you look at apartments out of your budget, everything will pale compared to the one you are looking at. Keep future you from eating a year of ramen! If you can’t afford the price, do not look at the apartment. Here’s the golden rule: Make a budget before you start looking.

To figure out your budget, try the following:

  • Write down the amount you get in your paycheck each month (net income is your take-home pay after taxes – etc.).
  • Then subtract the above amount from your current bill (credit cards, car payments, student loans, gym memberships, etc.).
  • Include any unexpected expenses, such as tires for your car or a visit to a doctor. It is best to add 10% to 15% to your bills. For example, if your current bills are $800, add $160 to that figure.
  • Consider how much electricity and groceries will cost and how often you will keep the lights on and food in the refrigerator. For apartment renters, 20 percent of their income is usually spent on utilities. Groceries typically cost $250 a month for one person.
  • Estimate the amount of money you’ll need for “extras” like dining out with friends, a night at the club, movies, and everything else you do.

Your rent budget comes out of the remaining amount. Look at areas where you can cut if you think it won’t be enough, but be realistic. Would you be able to give up watching the game with your best friends at the sports bar?

Step Two: Find out your credit score.

Do you know what your credit score is at this moment? If you don’t, then you can find out. You can get a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. If you happen to have no credit or bad credit, then a property manager may refuse to rent to you or increase the security deposit amount based on your credit score. If that happens, then you may want to think about getting a cosigner. 

What Is a Cosigner?

Cosigners will sign your lease with you, which will guarantee that if you do not pay your rent, they will take responsibility for that. They will not live in your apartment, but they will assume your debt. Cosigners are taking a huge commitment, so ensure that you have a detailed budget and facts when you ask someone to be your cosigner. Usually, a close friend or a family member will be a cosigner. 

Step Three: Getting a Roommate or Not

Once you realize what your credit score is and after figuring out your budget, you have found that you cannot do this by yourself. If that is the case, then you might want to think about getting a roommate even though having someone to split all the costs with can lower the burden of renting and make life a little easier for money. When you live with someone, you may end up with a brand new set of problems, especially if you are not fans of their habits and quirks. 

If you decide that you need to get a roommate, then your landlord may want you both to sign the lease, and they will check their credit history as well. It would help if you also kept in mind that a landlord could increase the rent on your apartment because of additional wear and tear from another person. They may also increase the security deposit, double-check the community policy regarding roommates; that way, you do not end up with surprises. 

If you think that you need a roommate, then do interviews to find a roommate. Below are some questions that you should ask any potential roommate: 

  • Do you smoke? 
  • Do you want or own a pet?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • How important is paying your bills on time?
  • Have you ever been late on your rent?
  • Are you a messy or neat person?
  • Are you a night or morning person?
  • What does your daily schedule look like?
  • Do you have any pet peeves? If so, what are they?
  • Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
  • How do you feel about overnight guests?
  • What do you like doing on the weekends?
  • Do you prefer dining out or cooking at home?
  • Do you mind sharing things, or do you want to keep everything separated?
  • What do you consider to be the essential trait of a roommate?

Once you have picked a roommate, it is always best to have a roommate agreement. This can be a simple agreement that will keep you both on the same page and help keep disagreements down and outline responsibilities. 

Step Four: Know What You Need and What You Want and How to Tell the Difference

If you are a new renter, you may have many questions that need to be answered. Below are a few that you can think about when you go to look at apartments:

Where Should I Look? 

Location is pretty important. While you may want to pick that cozy little apartment found in the suburbs because the rent is lower, you could end up spending more on gas and time if you have to commute to work or school. If you want to have restaurants, museums, movie theaters, and another entertainment close, you need to keep that in mind. 

To pay my rent, how do I go about doing it, and what happens if I don’t pay on time?

Rent is due on the same day every month. Renters may pay online via an online leasing system if their leasing agent allows it. You need to visit the leasing office every month if you do not do so. Credit cards, debit cards, electronic transfers (ACH), and personal checks are all acceptable payment methods.

Don’t hesitate to tell your landlord if you cannot pay your rent by the due date. Find out if they accept partial payments or payment arrangements. It’s always a good idea to get any agreement from the landlord in writing if there’s a dispute later. However, you need to be on time – if you are even a day late, the landlord can send you an eviction notice (notice of early termination). In the case of payment within 14 days, the notice is canceled. Your landlord may terminate your residency if you consistently fail to make rent on time.

Where can I do my laundry?

Apartments usually have either in-unit washers/dryers or an on-site laundry facility. There is a possibility of purchasing a washer and dryer in your apartment if there are connections in the building.

Are there any extra charges for the amenities I need?

Don’t be fooled by incredible amenities, such as a rooftop deck and a clubhouse – these typically come at a price. If you plan to rent out the deck or clubhouse for parties or events, make sure you inquire about the cost. Even if you don’t use these amenities, you can avoid the fees, so they shouldn’t affect your decision.

Take time to consider the pros and cons before you make a decision. Your heating and cooling expenses could soar if you live in a loft with soaring, floor-to-ceiling windows. The windows look great, no doubt. It could be more challenging to control the temperature during winter and summer, leading to higher utility bills.

What’s better than granite countertops and a fireplace? There is nothing better than having luxurious amenities. The cost of these services tends to be higher. It doesn’t make sense to spend extra money on these features if you don’t use your kitchen or aren’t home long enough to light a fire?

The perfect rental – with a yard! It’s time for backyard BBQs. Before you sign the lease, make sure you discuss the extra space with the landlord. Is it going to be maintained? Is there an additional fee for such a service? Is upkeep your responsibility? (In this case, consider the lawnmower costs, watering, etc.)

Is there Wi-Fi at the apartment?

The Internet provider that you choose may offer free Wi-Fi, but not all apartment communities do. It is sometimes a good idea to check with the leasing agent to learn if they have a preferred provider – these providers often offer discounts to keep residents in their community. Find out which service providers offer services in your area and contact them directly.

Would I be able to get a pet if I wanted one?

You should check the pet-friendliness of potential rentals even if you do not have a pet at the moment but plan to get one shortly. Be sure to inquire about pet fees, extra deposits, and pet rent when you contact the leasing agent.

Step Five: Visit the leasing office! Congratulations! You are ready.

The leasing agent will help you determine whether the apartment meets your budget and offers the amenities you require. Ensure that you have your pay stub, your reference letters, and your checkbook with you when you go.

Did you know that the average security deposit is up to two months’ rent? Apartment communities may also charge a monthly rent and a security deposit in advance. If you’re going to sit down with the leasing agent, make sure you’ve saved up three times your monthly rent, plus moving costs.

It is possible to negotiate your lease! Do your homework – similar research rentals in your neighborhood to determine the price difference. Consider renting at the end of the month if you can schedule the move flexibly. Landlords will have more flexibility then. You may also be able to negotiate better rates if you move during the winter when fewer apartments are available.

Ask your property manager if you can sign a longer lease for less rent if you plan on staying in your apartment for a long time. Rather than negotiating on rent, you may be able to ask for something else, such as a freshly painted apartment, hardwood flooring, or a better parking space.

Make sure you understand the lease. Taking the time to read it is worth the effort, even though it’s long, tedious, and filled with rental legalese. If there is anything you do not understand or want more information about, that should be mentioned in the lease.

You will receive the keys to your new apartment as soon as you sign on the dotted line! You know precisely what is in your lease agreement and have created a budget that will work well for you, which means you’ll enjoy your home for a long time – or at least until your lease expires. When you renew your lease, your rent will typically increase by 3 to 5 percent. (But that’s another story.)

Studio Apartment
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What is a Studio Apartment?

A studio apartment is a self-contained apartment in which normal functions of rooms are combined into a single living space.

What Does Studio Apartment Mean?

Wikipedia says, “A studio apartment, also known as a studio flat, a self-contained apartment, efficiency apartment, bed-sitter or bachelor apartment, is a small apartment in which the normal functions of a number of rooms – often the living room, bedroom, and kitchen – are combined into a single room.”

What is a Studio Apartment vs One Bedroom?

ApartmentGuide says the biggest difference between a one-bedroom apartment and a studio is that an apartment has a separate bedroom whereas a studio does not.

How Much Does a Studio Apartment Cost?

On average, a studio apartment costs about $400 to $2000 with average renters spending about $750 to rent a studio apartment according to GoDownSize.

What is a Good Size Studio Apartment?

A good size studio apartment will usually be about 500 to 600 square feet. Anything smaller than that starts to get a little bit tight for space.

According to ApartmentGuide, “Studio apartments usually max out at a total of 600 square feet but can get as small as 300 square feet. The smaller the space, the more creative you’ll become in finding storage and places for all your things.”

How To Find a Studio Apartment

The 8 ways to find an apartment include:

  1. Share Your Apartment
  2. Work Around the Most Popular Moving Season’s
  3. Have Questions For The Prospective Landlord
  4. New Apartment Buildings Can Be Affordable
  5. Ask About the Floors Between The Lowest and the Highest Levels
  6. Don’t Wait To Fill Out Apartment Applications
  7. Negotiate On Fixer Upper Apartments
  8. Choose to Live Without the Amenities

Apartment Locators Near Me in Austin, Pflugerville & Leander, TX

Are you searching for apartment locators in Austin? Looking for apartment locators in Pflugerville? Looking for apartment locators in Leander? Apartment Locators Near Me can help! I find the best apartments for rent so you don’t have to. I am a FREE apartment locator service for Austin, Texas, West Austin, South Austin, North Austin, East Austin, Downtown Austin, Pflugerville, and surrounding areas. I do a customized FREE apartment search based on your needs and desires. Check out our Move-In Specials!

How to Look For And Find an Apartment
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How To Look for and Find an Apartment

If you have had to apartment hunt in the past, you already know how big of a chore it is. This becomes even more hectic for anyone that must live off a budget! However, you just might be someone who can benefit from the tips below.

If you have ever rented an apartment in the past, you know how difficult it can be to locate an affordable unit. Having a limited budget only increases the difficulty. However, it’s never been easier to find an apartment, thanks to the internet.

Below are 8 helpful tips for locating an affordable apartment:

  1. Share Your Apartment

Sharing the expenses helps to make renting an apartment more affordable. Being able to divide the bills up with at least one other renter is going to put you in a better position to afford the kind of place that you really want.

For instance, if an apartment building were renting two bedrooms out for $1200 a month, but if you had a one-bedroom apartment, it would cost you $800 a month and you would be paying this by yourself. However, if you had a roommate who was paying half of the rent, it would mean your cost is going to be $200 a month less, and that is an extra $200 a month you could pocket.

Not to mention the utility bills can also be split-up, among all the other things you and your roommate decide on splitting down the middle.  Wow, now that pocket money is beginning to accumulate.

For many, it is difficult to find someone to roommate with, since it is only natural you would want to make certain they are going to be compatible with your needs. You might find these tips useful for finding a roommate as well.

  1. Work Around the Most Popular Moving Season’s

The rent on apartments usually is raised by landlords during the season when moving in and out are most expected (most popular). Having some knowledge of how the rental market can be impacted by the different seasons and time periods would be useful. For instance, the seasons cover periods of time when college students would be coming and going, particularly during the summer, the end of the school year, graduation time, etc.

Consider the areas you are interested in looking for a place to live in. Will the Universities be close by? Housing near universities and colleges will have the highest turnover for renters. You should take into consideration if the weather in the area is the same all year round or if it changes seasonally. Most moves take place either in the summer months or during the season with the most reliable weather. In order to keep their apartments filled, landlords will generally offer renters better deals on the rent. In fact, when timed just right, you can negotiate with landlords on the rent.

  1. Have Questions For The Prospective Landlord

On this list, you should have such things as:

  • Is parking included?
  • Do they charge extra for pets?
  • How much is the monthly pet fees?
  • How much is the deposit for having a pet? (Which could be as high as $500)
  • Are there additional pet fees? (Could be another $15 to $20 per month)

Another thing to have on your list are questions regarding parking. The more expensive charges for parking can range from $100 and up monthly in big cities like Seattle. Keeping in mind that covered parking will be less expensive than garage parking when asking questions.

Other important things to ask include:

  • Would it be wise to carry renter’s insurance?
  • Are the utilities included with the rent? If so, which ones?
  • Will you be required to pay the utilities yourself?

Be prepared by always having your list of questions with you when apartment hunting.

  1. New Apartment Buildings Can Be Affordable

Those new apartment buildings look far too expensive… Stop right there! This does not mean that you do not have a chance to get into one. Many of the newer apartment buildings will start out by offering the first month of rent for free and other good deals such as parking. Some also have gyms that tenants can use.

By canceling the gym membership costing you an extra $50 each month, along with refusing the many other additional offers, could end up with the rent being affordable.

  1. Ask About the Floors Between The Lowest and the Highest Levels

The rent is often a little higher for the lowest and the highest floors due to renter’s preferring them more. A person who is open to having a less quality view and those willing to walk rather than take an elevator put themselves in a position to afford an apartment in one of those nice new buildings, and save some money at the same time.

Something else you should add to the list is, does the apartment have a lease agreement?

  1. Don’t Wait To Fill Out Apartment Applications

Should you come across an apartment that you fall in love with from the get-go and the cost is within your budget, grab it quickly! Otherwise, it could be gone. In a case such as this, you need to tell the landlord or leasing agent right away and fill out the application immediately. Not many people know that the cost of rent can change from day-to-day.

Do not hesitate when you come across the right one. If someone else does not get it first, the rent can still go up.

  1. Negotiate On Fixer Upper Apartments

A cheaper way to get an apartment is to negotiate with the landlord on a fixer-upper. Is It just needing something as simple as a layer of paint or a new faucet? You could discuss the option of lower rent in return for making these minor repairs.

You could end up with a great rent rate from the start by doing this.

  1. Choose to Live Without the Amenities

Consider the things most people take for granted, such as on-site laundry or in-unit laundry. Is the apartment being renovated? Also, not many people know that each amenity offered comes with an additional cost attached to it. Landlords or leasing agents of apartments that have these additional amenities can also increase the rent at any time.

Searching for an apartment without all those amenities may not be as much fun, but the lower rent cost will make up for that in the long run.

Listings for Cheaper Apartments

Are you in need of an apartment you can afford?  This is no longer an issue. Just check out the website for a listing of cheaper apartments located in the area you are interested in. Simply provide us with your preferred needs, amenities, rent range, and the distance you are willing to travel. We will use these to filter through and find something that fits your needs.