Looking for a new apartment to rent? Spring and summer are moving season for many renters.
Fortunately, a lot of the problems that plague renters can be avoided just by choosing that apartment in Blacksburg, VA a little more carefully. Here are some apartment hunting mistakes to avoid while you’re looking.
Falling in Love Too Soon
Apartment hunting usually begins online, where you can browse through photos of apartments for rent in your area. There’s nothing wrong with doing a little previewing before you go out to view these places in person; just keep in mind that in many cases, photos don’t tell it all. Photos lack a lot of detail. If possible, take a tour.
Failing to See the Big Picture
Before you set out to look for a new apartment, think about what’s really important to you. Are you looking for a short commute to work? Proximity to certain amenities such as shopping, parks, or public transportation? It’s important to understand the big picture in terms of what you want out of your apartment, to size up each apartment as a whole. Otherwise, you’re likely to zero-in on smaller, less important details, like the size of the unit, the decor, or fantastically cheap rent.
Allowing Yourself to Be Wooed by Fancy Fixtures
Be sure that in addition to apartment amenities that the apartment itself meets your needs in other key ways. If you wouldn’t live in this apartment if it didn’t have fancy fixtures, you probably shouldn’t move in just because it does.
Going Out of Your League
Before you start looking for an apartment, you have to decide how much rent you are capable of paying. Most financial experts recommend that you spend no more than 30% of your take-home (after-tax) income on housing. Depending on your other financial obligations — and your personal financial goals — you may want to spend even less. But no matter what price point you decide on, once you have a number in mind, stick to it. And do not, under any circumstances, look at apartments that exceed your budget.
Failing to Read the Rental Agreement
Rental agreements lay out, in legal terms, what you as a renter are responsible for. Read every word carefully and make sure you’re up for it. If you aren’t, move on.
Overlooking Existing Damage
Most rental agreements include a damage deposit. This is money that the landlord holds in order to pay for any damage the tenant may cause during the term of the lease. This can get tricky if you don’t document any damages that were already there when you moved in. On the day you get possession of your apartment, walk through it and document existing damage.
Not Considering Roommates Carefully
Living with other people can be hard. When you share your personal space with someone, you get to know each other on a pretty intimate level. So try to choose your roommates carefully. There are different philosophies on this. Some people think it’s best to choose a roommate who isn’t a friend. Others say it’s best to room with a bestie. Either way, make sure your roommate has a solid history of paying their rent.
Not Vetting Your Landlord
Some landlords care about their properties and their tenants. They’ll take your calls and fix leaking toilets and send an exterminator in to deal with your ant problem. Other landlords treat their tenants like cash machines; money is withdrawn, never to be seen again. Be sure to run a check on your landlord before you sign a rental agreement. Do a Google search, ask if you can contact previous tenants, and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the landlord or property management company. If you discover serious issues, find another place to rent.