Renting for Beginners
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 18:03
If you’re looking for more space, freedom or responsibility, moving out of the residence halls or your parents’ house may offer just that. Looking for your first rental can be tough, so using our experiences, we at Wolf Magazine have compiled tips to help you get started on your journey.
Finding the rental
This may be a bit obvious, but it’s the most important part of the process. It’s best to start early, and we recommend searching two to three months before you plan on renting. Use websites like craigslist, Zillow and Padmapper to search for rentals. All are free and even have apps for smartphones. Try walking around the neighborhood you’re interested in to get a feel for it and to find “for rent” signs. Don’t fret if there aren’t many openings just yet. Every day offers new possibilities. With craigslist, pay attention to scams. Do not send money before meeting landlords and do not send any personal information such as social security numbers and credit card numbers.
Finding the roommate
Having a roommate (or roommates) can make for good company and cheaper rent. If you haven’t found one yet, ask around. Putting up fliers around campus or updating your Facebook status can yield some results. Try craigslist to meet a potential roommate or to find an available room to rent with others who have already settled in. It might be best to live with someone you barely know than with your best friend. At least if it doesn’t work out, a friendship isn’t ruined.
Going on tours
When you find a suitable rental, contact the landlord or manager as soon as you can to set up a tour. These tours are your chance to ask all those questions burning in your mind. Have expectations in amenities – washer and dryer, central air conditioning and security system, for example. Try taking photos to refer back to the place if you need more time to think. Be prepared to have a security deposit and the first month’s rent, but be ready to rent before handing it over.
This is a legal document between you, your roommate(s) and the landlord, with expectations from all parties. In other words, make sure to read the lease and understand it before signing. Bring up any discrepancies to the landlord and completely agree with the document before signing. Watch out for fees that may be listed in the lease, such as those for keeping a pet or failing to pay utilities on time.
Getting your security deposit back
On move-in day, take note of any damages before settling in so that your landlord knows they were there before you arrived. Notify the landlord of these and any more as they occur. Don’t forget to clean the apartment before moving out at the end of the lease to return it in the best state possible. And most importantly, always pay rent on time. Make sure to follow these guidelines and honor your landlord’s requests to ensure you get your security deposit back.