What You Need to Know as a First Time Renter

Each year, a flood of first time renters come into the market unsure of where to start. That’s why we’re here! Uptown Apartment Locators will help you avoid the many mistakes people make when renting for the first time. Read our guide below for how you should go about looking for an apartment, what to do while renting an apartment, and things to keep in mind after you finish a lease.

What You Need to Know

Prior to Renting

Before signing the lease on an apartment, it is important you find a place that gives you a good balance of what you want vs. what you need. List out your absolute must haves, including location, budget, and amenities. Use our apartment checklist before you start touring to make sure you don’t waste your time looking at the wrong apartments. If you don’t have the time, then hire an apartment locator like us who will do it for free. (Learn more about why using an apartment locator takes the stress out of moving.) A first time renter likely doesn’t know about all the options they have available to them, but we can help you find the best deals around the DFW metroplex.

Important Tips:

  • Make sure you calculate your budget correctly (try to spend no more than 30% of your gross income on rent) and check what utilities are not included in your lease. These could be extra bills each month a first time renter might not take into account!
  • If your budget is tight, we suggest opting out of cable. Having an Internet connection and a Netflix subscription is, oftentimes, enough and will cut your bill big time!
  • Studio apartments are appealing for their cost, but come with the downside of decreased space. See how you can make the most of studio living.
  • Read the fine print of your lease document! Some limit dog breeds, have non-smoking rules, community hours, and fees. Make sure you know what you’re getting into as a first time renter before you sign on the dotted line.
  • Signing a longer lease will typically result in lower month-to-month prices. See if changing your lease dates help!

While Renting

Stay up-to-date on your lease rules and make your payments on-time or even early! Apartments charge for late payments, which you hopefully know about from reading your lease document. You are legally bound to pay a fee if you don’t submit within X amount of days from the start of the month. Plus, if you pay on a Sunday, that payment may not come through until the next business day and will be counted as late. Mark your calendars and make it a habit to pay on the first of each month! This is a mistake you could typically make as a first time renter that you can avoid with due diligence.

Other fees you could be charged during rent are damage fees. These can come from pets or from decorations you put up after moving in. Avoid these by following the apartment policy provided when you move in. Typically, they will give you tips, tricks, and rules to avoid damaging walls. Another thing that could cost is not having renter’s insurance. Some apartments require proof of renter’s insurance before signing a lease, but on the off chance yours doesn’t, get it NOW! This will protect your personal property, so it’s crucial that a first time renter is warned.

Important Tips:

  • Close your shades in the summer and keep them open in the winter to lower your energy bill.
  • Grocery shopping will help you save! Opt for homemade meals rather than takeout to keep more money in the bank.
  • If you plan on moving out at the end of your lease, make sure you give the apartment at least a 3 months warning. Your leasing document may specify otherwise, but ensure you don’t get stuck paying another month by keeping communication with your leaser.

After Renting

Before moving out, double check to make sure you don’t have any damage fees you need to pay. A first time renter will run out the door without looking back when they move onto the next place, but they may not know they still have a payment due. Make sure this doesn’t go to collections and affect your credit score by keeping in touch after you move. It’s also important to make sure you forward your mail to your new address. Any subscriptions you get delivered each month will need to be changed too. You don’t want your Dollar Shave Club or Ipsy box to get left at the wrong address!

As a first time renter, you will also need to make sure you cancel or change your utility bills. Some energy companies can transfer your services to a new address, but if you’re renting a washer/dryer you’ll want to make sure you don’t leave that behind! Finally, you’ll want to check if there are any deposits you get back at the end of your lease.

We understand that this may be overwhelming to a first time renter, but rest assured knowing that our team is here to make the move-in process a breeze. If you have any questions or concerns about renting, know we are here for you. At Uptown Apartment Locators, we help all DFW renters in need! Contact us today if you’re ready to start looking for your first place.