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A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Apartment Hunters

Young Woman Apartment Hunting on Her PhoneIf you’re thinking about renting your first Shrewsbury apartment, you may be equally excited and nervous. It makes sense to have this feeling: after all, there are so many matters that need figuring out, from finding the right place to making sure you can afford it and everything in between. Make apartment hunting easier by scheduling some significant things ahead of time. By following these easy measures now, you may be able to find and rent your first apartment like a professional in no time.

Crunch the Numbers

Before you start your apartment search, you have to be able to tell how much you can afford. To ensure this, you’ll need to produce a monthly budget that displays all of your income and expenses. Then you can calculate how much rent you can afford. A good guideline is to keep your apartment rent at about 30% of your income after taxes. Estimate the exact dollar amount. Now take a look at your budget. Do you have sufficient money left over after your other expenses to cover that amount? Otherwise, you may need to take some extra steps before you’re set to start apartment hunting.

Look Beyond the Rent

Figuring out just how much monthly rent you can afford is a great first step, however, there are other costs involved that you need to be prepared for. In most instances, you will need to pay a security deposit upfront along with the first month’s rent. The amount of this security deposit will differ, but it is usually the same amount as the rental payment.

There may even be other deposits and fees, including credit check fees, utility deposits, and extra costs. Plus, you’ll need to find out if utilities are incorporated in the rent or if you will be responsible for paying for your own. Internet, cable, electricity, gas, water, and trash disposal are all mutual utilities that you’ll need to have enough money to get set up if they aren’t included in the rent. To make things easier, you could think of it this way: you’ll have to have at least 2 – 3 months of rental payments saved up to guarantee that you have what you need to get into your first apartment.

Application Basics

As soon as you’ve got your finances figured out, it’s time to start searching and applying for your first apartment. It’s a great idea to have your application materials set before you start so that when you spot a place you like, you’re prepared to get that application done quickly. To rent an apartment, you’ll need a list of documents and information.

While this list may vary from place to place, it’s a good idea to have the following available:

  • Your last two pay stubs or a bank statement
  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license or state ID
  • Credit report
  • Contact information for at least two references

Read the Lease

As you’re checking back through the rental process, carefully read through all of your lease documents – including the fine print. A lease is a binding legal contract, which means that once you sign it, you will be on the hook for everything that’s in it. Have a clear understanding of your responsibilities, what your landlord will provide, how things like maintenance and repairs will work, and so on. Also, check that the rental payment amount, security deposit amount, and other numbers are correct.

Finally, check for any unusual or unexpected rules or clauses to make sure that you are comfortable following the rules stated in the lease. If you have questions about anything you find in your lease, be sure to ask someone you trust. In fact, the more you know about the apartment, the neighborhood, and your landlord before you rent from them, the better off you will be.


Are you looking for your first rental home in Shrewsbury? Contact us online today or call us at 508-329-6000.

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