Moving into your own apartment for the first time is a fresh new start. The anticipation of living on your own, and the opportunity to decorate your new place can be factors in accelerating your urge to move out. Although renting your own apartment can open a new chapter in your life, it is important that you know what to look for and prepare before you move out. Here are some things you need to know to rent your first apartment.
The first apartment is always the most difficult to secure. With no history of having lived on your own, landlords often overlook first time renters. In order to make the process a little easier, here are some things you should prepare ahead of time to make a good impression on the landlord and reassure him or her that you will be a responsible tenant.
- Proof of Income- First time renters are often asked to produce proof of employment and income. Bring a pay stub with the current date, and a letter from your employer on company letterhead, indicating your current salary and length of employment.
- First and Last Rent- It is a common practice among landlords to request a cheque to cover first and last month’s rent to accompany your rental application. If your application is not accepted, these funds must be returned to you.
- Provide References- Whether it is a teacher, a work reference, or a professor, references are an asset that will assist you in securing your apartment. Bring at least two good references with you when you view the apartment.
Save Extra Money
The financial costs of renting your first apartment are relatively straightforward. Before renting, create a budget for yourself so you can rule out any apartments that are outside of your price range. When your budget is set, ensure that you have enough saved for at least the first three months of rent. That will cover first and last, as well as one other month. It is also important to consider having a bit of extra money set aside in the event that there are extra costs on top of your monthly rent like utility hook ups and key deposits. Ensuring that you include all of these factors into your budget will allow you to find an apartment that suits your financial situation, and rent your own place without running into a financial crisis.
Do Your Research
Researching where you want to live before entering a rental agreement is very important for making your life and daily commute simple and stress free. With the GTA being so large, the location you choose could make the difference between an hour commute in heavy traffic, or a 15 minute commute on the transit system. Do a little bit of research beforehand, and consider things like how far the apartment is from your work, what amenities are nearby, and what the neighbourhood offers. Taking some time to research the surrounding area will make your decision easier, and make your daily life more enjoyable.
One of the most efficient ways to decide whether an apartment will suit your lifestyle or not is to do a lobby survey. Take a Saturday morning, and pass some time in the lobby of the potential apartment buildings you are looking at renting from. Survey some of the residents, and see what they like about living in that location. Ask about the neighbourhood and local amenities, the advantages of living in that building, and what they find positive about their apartment. Asking people who actually live in that location will give you the best indication of whether it is for you or not.
Read the Tenancy Agreement Thoroughly
A tenancy agreement is a contract that outlines what is expected of the tenant. When renting your first apartment, it is very important that you read the agreement thoroughly, and understand everything you read. Make sure you ask questions and clarify any content you may not understand. If you are unsure what sort of questions to ask, the Government of Canada has a list of examples. Reading through everything before signing it will prevent you from being surprised about any rules or regulations that may come up in the future.
Purchase Renters Insurance
Renters insurance is a policy designed to protect you and your belongings in the event that there is a fire or a natural disaster. The policy will reimburse you for a general amount to cover the cost of any belongings and valuables you may lose in the event of a disaster hitting your apartment. Before you rent your first apartment, it is a wise decision to research what different insurance companies offer, and what they charge per month. It is worth the investment as it will save you money if something unexpected happens to your apartment.
Moving into your new apartment is simple and fun if you prepare ahead of time by researching, asking questions, and understanding the overall process. For more information on things you need to know before renting your first apartment, visit the Medallion Blog.