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Renting, for most people, is the much less attractive way of finding a place to live. The downside to renting is consistently paying someone else for a place to stay. The upside is lower cost, which gives you more personal funds to invest and wiggle room within your budget.

Limiting Your Budget

Never spend over 30% of your monthly income on housing. Since renting sends a monthly check to someone else and never builds ownership, minimize the amount you pay for rent. Paying less than 20% is optimal. If you are renting, it is better to direct as much of this percentage towards saving and investments. Spending that 10% elsewhere is a waste of finances. If you can’t find a living space at that price, alternative living arrangements such as a roommate may be necessary.

Researching Your Living Space

The process of renting is substantially different compared to the cost of home purchasing. The first step to renting is researching your apartment. Properly exploring each prospective neighborhood is essential. Examine the neighborhood based on average prices per square foot, safety or crime rate, educational quality, local entertainment, and shopping. Be sure to look up average response times or locate nearby hospitals, police stations, and fire departments. Drive around the neighborhood both during the daytime and at night to get a proper feel for the area. Stop local residents and ask them how they feel in that specific area.

The second step is identifying specific apartments in the area. This is where the previous neighborhood research becomes useful. Comparing this information for neighborhoods helps you rapidly eliminate unfavorable areas of your city. It also helps you eliminate the apartments you don’t want to live in, simply by comparing the average price with the rental price. You also are set up to negotiate by comparing the apartment to the average price per foot for renting in the area.

Review the apartment owner’s history; do this before looking at apartment spaces. Look at reviews of the landlord online, which frequently exist for corporate landlords. The landlord may be a firm or corporation. Ask pedestrians living in the apartment complex about the quality of care they receive.

After reviewing neighborhoods, begin looking at independent apartments. Always inspect each independent home or apartment before renting it. Ask for a blueprint of the room spacing, or measure the room sizes. There are many things that can change between example residence and your personal living space. Damaged appliances, stained carpets, broken doors, and cracked ceilings are only a few things that can be missed by looking at a model. You will need to know all issues during negotiation with the apartment or home’s landlord. Problems and flaws will reduce your rent in negotiations. Test everything, from the front locks to the closet door.

Negotiating Your Price

Begin negotiations if you’re sure you want to rent. Take care of the crucial aspects of the lease first. How much is the initial rent, and how often? Are any utilities covered by the apartment complex or landlord? Does the complex have a specific provider it uses for each service or can you freely contract others? Many complexes have default services providers who have wired the complex. If you acquire services it must be supplied by that provider, preventing you from shopping around. The same sometimes happens with other services and even utilities.

Your next topic is who covers downsides and problems, ask about basic repairs of appliances, plumbing, and storm damages. Include basic wear and tear, and ask them to be specific about what does or doesn’t qualify for landlord expensed repairs. Don’t forget to include unwanted animals or pests in the condominium.

Each downside you discovered when you toured the apartment helps negotiate a lower price. Use anything that can help you acquire lower prices. References from previous friends, workers, landlords, and employers will help. Bring proof of long term stability like bank statements, copies of your paycheck, your resume or work history, and a positive credit report. Combine the problems seen during the examination of the apartment with your personal history to convince your potential landlord to lower the rent. Note that this will not be successful if the property is highly competitive. You can also negotiate other issues and problems besides simply the monthly cost. Any changes that you can successfully negotiate must be on paper in the lease agreement. Vocal agreements are worthless until written.

The last thing you need to do before you put your name on the signature line is ensure the property doesn’t have damage. Record all damage with a time-stamped image, video camera, or recorded list of damages signed by both you and the landlord. Make a copy for their purposes, but keep the original.

Completing Transactions

Now you’ll have to complete a series of transactions and expenses. The first expense is your application fee, typically used to check your credit report and process your information. The second expense is your rental or security deposit. Your deposit usually covers your initial and final rental month, unless you choose to extend your lease agreement. When you leave, your security deposit will be returned if the apartment is in good condition. After the papers are signed and deposits are paid, you can move in.

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