You can enjoy greater freedom and flexibility when you rent your first apartment. But if you haven’t done it before, it can be a daunting process. However, it doesn’t have to be so. With these guidelines, you will find a place that meets your needs and apartment budget.

1. Determine Your Budget

Before you start the apartment search process, you need to first determine how much rent you are capable of paying. The recommended percentage of your monthly income that should go to rent is 30%. However, there are certain things you need to have in mind when calculating your affordable rent payment, and these include your living expenses, debt payments, and other bills. Make sure you review your entire budget before you start looking for an apartment.

2. Find the Best Location

You have to find the best place for you to live in. You will be looking for neighborhoods that have the attractions and businesses you enjoy. Another factor for choosing your location will be proximity to your work.

Generally, the farther away you are from work, the higher your transportation costs will be. But there’s a trade-off here. The farther you move away from big cities, the lower housing costs are. Your rental saving outweighs the extra costs of transportation, but if you live in a house close to a public transportation line, this can help to further reduce transportation costs.

You can find houses limited to a particular area and according to a range of prices on many websites and apps.

3. Decide Whether You Want a Roommate

After settling the general price you can afford, you can then decide whether a roommate is needed or not. There are many benefits to this. You will be able to afford a bigger apartment that comes with more amenities if rent costs are shared, but with this comes the loss of some privacy. If you are already fine with living with other people, then having roommates won’t be a problem. For others, roommates can be an invitation to complications in living experience.

4. Get Solid References

Many landlords will consider credit scores when deciding to rent an apartment. You may not have a significant credit history as a first-time renter. References can be very helpful here.

You can get the apartment you want from good references. Although you can’t be able to list former landlords as references, your workplace can come in here. Your managers and supervisors can speak to your responsibility and your on-the-job performance. Hearing from your boss at work can reassure your potential landlord of your reliability to pay your rent from a steady paycheck. Avoid family and friends giving references as these may mean less to landlords.

5. Look at Few Properties Per Time

When you have decided on some areas you’d like to live in, the search can begin. Go online or pour through your local newspaper. In very hot housing markets, some apartments don’t get to be listed before they are taken, so you might also consider walking around the neighborhood you want to look for any “for rent” signs. You can then call a few property management companies to find out what they have available.

We recommended 5 properties at a time when property managers start offering tours. You don’t want to get exhausted or see too many properties you start finding it hard to remember which property has the amenities you liked best. Think of taking pictures of each of the interiors and exteriors so you can remember the apartments.

6. Confirm The Cost of Utilities

Before making a decision to move into that dream apartment, you want to be sure of the bills that come with the heat, electricity, and gas. You may save money on apartment complexes as they will cover different amenities, but you will need to take some responsibility for utilities.

7. Take Your Time to Make a Decision

While you may feel the need to make an immediate choice, you should spend at least 24 hours to think about applying for an apartment. This will allow you time to get over the excitement of finding an apartment and soberly consider what it would look like living there. Consider all the factors before making a choice. It is not wise to jump at the first or cheapest option you find.

8. Submit the Application

Having found an apartment you like, you can then fill out an application, which may attract a fee. Some applications request permission for credit checks. Your property manager may require a co-signer on your application if your credit isn’t good enough. When submitting your application, ensure that all the information on the application is truthful and accurate to avoid delays or rejections.

9. Read the Lease Carefully Before Signing

You can save yourself headaches down the road when you carefully review the lease. The lease contains important information, which includes your responsibilities for the property, and the rules to be followed while you are living in the apartment. This lease should be written in terms you understand, but if there’s something that isn’t making sense to you, then ask your landlord to clarify. You can even consider running your lease through a lawyer before signing.