Moving out on your own, eh? Congratulations! You’re taking a big step towards independence and self-sufficiency, one that shouldn’t be overlooked. Renting your own place is an achievement, but nonetheless, it can be a little intimidating at first. Here at Copper Hill, we work with a lot of renters, many of whom are signing their very first lease on their own. If you’ve never entered into a lease before, it can be a bit confusing, so we’ve compiled a few of our top tips for first time renters. Let’s dig in!
Tip #1: Know What You Don’t Want
Renting a unit is always a lower-stakes decision than buying one. You’re not locked in long term, and most of the time, you’re not responsible for actual issues concerning the property. That being said, it’s still important to know what you’re looking for. Though really, it’s much easier to narrow down your options when you know what you don’t want.
Need a full bedroom? Rule out all studios. Can’t stand coin-operated laundry? Only check out units with machines. It’s easy to ramble on about all the things we’d love to see in our rental, but for the purposes of searching, knowing what you don’t want is much more important.
Tip #2: Be Conservative with Your Budget
A good rule of thumb is to spend less than 30% of your monthly income on rent; conversely, landlords often require renters to have an income that is three times the cost of the unit. So why lean towards a conservative number?
Everything always looks simpler on paper, before real-world costs come into play. So while you might have your budget all smoothed out in your head, it’s impossible to predict the types of costs you’ll incur, especially if you’re new to the area. A cold month could mean a gas bill doubling overnight; if you’re new to town, the unexpectedly-high cost of groceries and gas could drain money that was put aside for rent. It’s always better to have money and not need to spend it than to need money and not have it.
Tip #3: Have Your Documents Ready
Proof of income. Credit score. Bank statements. The holy trinity of documents that can prove that you’re a competent tenant who will pay their rent on time.
When applying for a rental, it’s critically important to have these documents at the ready. Landlords generally look for a credit score of at least 600; lower scores may dissuade landlords from wanting to rent to you. Keep those papers ready for best results!