Renting your first place can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. Figuring out how to go about renting an apartment can be a confusing right of passage that comes with its own set of responsibilities.
Thankfully, you’re not alone! These tips for first-time renters may help to alleviate some stress when stepping into the (unofficial) world of “adulthood.”
While Facebook Marketplace is often a great place to start searching for your dream bachelor pad, using this platform does come with a warning label. The digital age has given rise to rental scammers and fraudsters, and many prospective renters are falling victim to rental scams. Here are a few things to pay attention to when looking at a potential listening, as per Private Property:
- If you’re unable to view the place of interest
- Agents or landlords avoid meeting in person
- They force you to transfer money to them without signing proper documents
- Withholding important information from you
Alternatively, it’s easier and often safer to go through a reputable agency, along with using verified property websites.
Do your research
While you may be eager to move into your own place as soon as possible, take your time and do your research. Taking a moment to research your prospective neighbourhood and homes/apartments within the area may help you to settle on a place that you love. A few potential questions to ask your realtor:
- What’s included? Make sure that you find out which utilities are included. These can be anything from rates to the electricity bill.
- Can you fix this? Pay attention to every detail when checking your new place out. Pay attention to any cracks or frayed edges, finding out who is responsible for fixing them and if it can be done before your move-in date.
Live within your means
It may seem like a good idea to splurge on that gorgeous sea-facing apartment along Sea Point promenade, but living beyond your means can have dire consequences in the long run. While it may seem obvious, this is surprisingly a common pitfall that first-time renters fall into. Sit down, work out your budget, and land on a figure that you’re comfortable with paying every month. Keep in mind that renting an apartment can have a few hidden costs, including paying for fibre, groceries, utility bills, and more.
Sign a written lease
We’ve all been guilty of accepting the Terms and Conditions without reading them or signing a binding contract without fully understanding what we’re actually signing. Ensure that a written lease has been drawn up (no verbal contracts) and spend some time learning to understand its contents. This is so important as it enables you to protect your rights, as well as those of the property owner. Here are a few points to pay particular attention to:
- How long you are agreeing to rent.
- The total monthly rent you’ll need to pay.
- Where or to whom you should pay.
- When the rent is due and what happens when rent is not paid on time.
Don’t forget the deposit
Landlords and reputable rental agencies will ask for a security deposit. This is often equivalent to one month’s rent (sometimes more) and is paid back once your contract has come to an end. Again, be very careful when it comes to “agents” who put pressure on you to pay money in order to “book” the property.
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