7 Tips for First Time Renters

Living on your own for the first time can be one of the scariest and most liberating things that we go through in young adulthood. One minute you’re living at home with your parents and the next – BOOM – hello adulting. To make this change a little easier we put together some of our tips for first time renters. 

Chances are, your parents will help you find and rent a new place, whether for school or a new job. However, it wouldn’t hurt to get a few tips on what to do and what to be prepared for when renting for the first time.

Trust me, it can be a little overwhelming but nothing to be afraid of.

Here’s our Top 7 Tips for First Time Renters:

1. Keep Your Priorities in Mind

Keep your priorities in mind

Location, location, location

There are so many properties just itching for you to visit them, especially in the booming Charleston area. When looking for a place to rent, whether it be a house or apartment, it can be easy to get distracted. Keeping your priorities at the front of your mind will help you make a decision faster and will help make sure that you get what you need.

A good example is the location of the property. Is it close enough to work? Do you like the neighborhood? Are you close enough to your favorite shops and restaurants? Don’t forget –  location, location, location.

For LeasingandManagement.com, you can search for properties based on location by using our website!

Other priorities you should think of are how long the lease is, what you are willing to pay for rent, and how many bedrooms you need.

2. Look into what the Property has to Offer

Check List

What do you need and what can you live without?

Once you find the perfect location and are looking into a few properties you’re off to a good start. Now, it’s time to make sure that you know all of what the property has to offer.

Appliances provided, furnished or unfurnished, application requirements, and the big one – pets or no pets? These are just a few examples of things that first time renters might not think about. 

These features, and many more like them, are very important to be aware of. If you aren’t picky then it’s no big deal. But if you need a place for both you and your fur baby then be mindful of the properties policies and fees.

Some other features to be mindful of are if the property comes with a washer and dryer and if not is there a laundromat nearby, does it have a fenced in yard or a yard at all, what utilities are provided, and is there trash pick up.

3. See the Property in Person

I’m going to mention this once so make sure to take note – PICTURES CAN BE MISLEADING. 

It’s always best, and sometimes required, to see a property in person before submitting an application and signing a lease. Being able to see a virtual tour and photos of a property online is a great resource when you’re trying to decide on which property to pursue. However, they don’t always compare to the real thing.

In some cases, the photos can be outdated. There might be new features that the properties are hiding behind 5-year-old photos. On the other hand, a property might turn out to be even better – or worse – in person than it is in the photos. 

Real estate photographers do their best to capture the entire property and everything it has to offer but sometimes they can miss a few things. We are all human after all. 

It’s also important to see the property in person so you can see if your furniture will fit. Historic Downtown Charleston is, well historic. It has so many beautiful properties but sometimes these properties are hundreds of years old and don’t have an elevator or have very narrow hallways. That’s definitely something to consider if you have a 4 person sofa that you need to lug up the stairs. 

Modern technology has made it easy for you to sign up for a showing time of your property of choice. However, you can always reach out to a realtor and have them help you with the visitation process. 

4. Don’t Forget about Budgeting!

You don’t have to pinch pennies but you do have to be aware of the costs.

Onto the financially responsible side of things.

Being an adult – or young adult – means that you’ve probably already experienced and know of the importance of budgeting.

Budgeting is very important when it comes to renting a home, especially if you’re a first time renter. Not only do you need to be responsible and take care of yourself but you’ll also have that monthly bill regularly knocking on your door.

Planning ahead and scheduling a day to pay rent – preferably a few days before the rent is due – can make this step in the renting process easier. It will also help prevent paying the rent late – which is a pretty big “no no.”

Another thing to budget for is a pet deposit. Some properties even require a monthly pet rent. This fee is charged just in case someone has an accident or decides to chew up the cabinets – Pets can be expensive but we love them anyway. 

We found another blog that gives great advice and tips on budgeting if you need a little more help in this area.

“The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” – Frank Hubbard

5. Take the Security Deposit into Account

Rental Agreement

Don’t worry, if you take care of the property you’ll get your deposit back!

This falls into the budgeting category but let’s get into a few more details that first time renters might not know about. 

A security deposit is typically the same amount as the rent and you’ll pay it around the same time that you sign the lease. You’ll get it back at the end of your lease if there isn’t any significant damage to the property. If there are a few issues or damages then there might be a few deductions.

This deposit ensures the owner of the property and the property management company that you aren’t going to destroy the house with a wild party – and if you do, you don’t get your money back.

We consider this to be a useful tip because the thought of a security deposit can frequently slip someone’s mind when they already have so many things going on to rent the property.

6. See if you Need a Cosigner/Guarantor

Rental Guarantee Form

This will definitely apply to students.

If you’re attending college – or are about to – you are more than likely going to need to have a cosigner, or a Guarantor, on your lease.

To get technical, a guarantor is someone – usually Mom or Dad – who is agreeing to pay the rent if the tenant is unable to. This ensures the property owner and the property management company that the rent will be paid. This is to ensure that everyone gets their money.

Checking with the property management company or property owner about a need for a guarantor ahead of time will help you plan. Asking mom and dad to cosign your lease at the very last minute might not go over so well.

You can find a copy of LeasingandManagement.com’s Parental Guarantee form on their website!

7. Consider Renter’s Insurance

Renters Insurance

You might not need it but you’ll be happy to have it if sometime happens.

Most property management companies require that you have renter’s insurance before signing a lease but even if they don’t, it’s important to consider it.

Renter’s insurance covers your possessions if there’s a case of fire, vandalism, or theft. Accidents happen all the time and you can never be too careful when protecting your belongings.

Having renter’s insurance will help make adulting a little easier. It’s like having a net under you just in case you fall. 

Renting a place of your own is a huge step in life but it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. As long as you keep these tips in mind you’ll be fine!

Have any questions or want more advice? Email us at inquiries@landmllc.com!