When browsing for your first apartment, it’s easy to get in over your head! From amenities to floor plans and square footage, to location…there is SO MUCH to consider before making a final decision as to where you’ll live. Here are a few common first-time renter mistakes to avoid, which will keep you secure and excited about your first apartment long after move-in.
Paying too much
This one is MOST IMPORTANT! Be sure that you only look at apartments that are squarely in your price range at the time. If you expect a big raise is coming at work in six months…do not find an apartment that you can only afford after that happens! Use our rent budget calculators for salaried and hourly employees and be honest with yourself about your expenses.
Not only can moving into an expensive apartment be draining on your bank account, social life, and ability to buy other things you need…but you can run the risk of being evicted and negatively impacting your credit score if you are unable to pay rent on time each month.
The recommendation? Do the math and choose an apartment you are very comfortable paying for at the time you find it.
Falling for useless amenities
Apartments and apartment complexes will likely flaunt their amenities, especially to young or first-time renters. However, make sure to think through what those amenities are valued. For instance, if your apartment offers gym access included in rent, you could cut out $20-$100 a month in an outside gym membership, which may be worth it. Same goes for a pool or clubhouse. If you currently have memberships to clubs, you can eliminate those in favor of using your apartment amenities.
However, the flip side is very important. If you know you won’t use the apartment’s fancy amenities (or have free access to other amenities at a local park, for example), keep searching. They likely increase their rent price to cover the amenities, and if you can’t save money elsewhere, you’ll end up paying too much for things you don’t need, want, or use!
Choosing the wrong location
Location is also crucial to your apartment search! I recommend choosing a location that’s very close to where you work to eliminate time wasted commuting, whether by foot, train, or car. If you don’t yet have a steady job, consider locations that are near stations or highways.
But, you must also be sure you feel safe in the location you choose. Even if you’re on an extreme budget, stay away from crime-riddled areas of your city and instead explore areas nearby to feel secure.
If you take your time and are smart about your apartment hunt, these mistakes won’t be a problem! But, keep them in mind as you search to ensure you end up with the apartment of your dreams!