Renting an apartment can be an exciting journey, but it can also be overwhelming for some folks. This is especially the case if you’re a first-time renter and aren’t familiar with certain processes, current rent rates, and other important factors that help to inform unit selection. To help you cross the threshold into your beautiful new home with peace of mind, here are some common mistakes that folks sometimes make when searching for an apartment rental. By spotlighting these, we hope to help you avoid these pitfalls and make the most of your time as a tenant!
Not Shopping Around
When searching for an apartment to rent, it’s important to have several options to choose from. You don’t want to jump at the first property that’s within your budget, as you may end up missing out on an alternative in an even better location that still meets your requirements! There are several factors that should be able to help inform your choice including accessibility, amenities, the age of the unit and whether it’s been renovated recently, included utilities, the cost of rent, and otherwise. Don’t be afraid to browse and get to know the properties (and landlords) that you are considering!
Not Budgeting Correctly
A mistake that first-time and veteran renters alike can make is creating an unrealistic budget. After all, it’s easy to get excited by some of the beautiful, spacious, and conveniently located options out there! You might look at apartments that you find appealing, but they may be outside of your price range as well. Having the ability to pay your rent is only part of the process; you also need to be able to cover utilities, groceries, your phone bill, internet, and otherwise. Some landlords include utilities like hydro or, more commonly, water with the rent, which helps to make units more affordable. Therefore, it’s important to set a realistic budget that doesn’t cause undue stress, and be sure to stay within it!
Not Reading the Fine Print of Your Lease Agreement
When renting an apartment, you’ll typically do so under a lease. This is an agreement that binds you as a tenant for a predetermined period of time. You may be able to break the lease if you have no choice but to move, but this will come with penalties that can be costly, and it’s possible that you wouldn’t get a reference from your landlord if you part on bad terms.
Some rental units don’t have leases, meaning you can move out without financial penalty, while others need to be renewed every year or two. Therefore, it’s important that you choose a rental unit that you’ll enjoy calling home for a prolonged period of time, as there’s nothing worse than the “honeymoon” period ending and deciding that you want out of a lease!
Not Knowing the Neighborhood
It is important to like the apartment you intend to rent. It is also essential that you like the neighbourhood you might be living in. Feeling unsafe or unsure of the area you’re moving to can be red flags. Research the location where you will be living to ensure you are comfortable with the new area. Also, is your apartment within a reasonable walking or busing distance to essentials like grocery stores, post offices, public services, and healthcare clinics? Does living in this location feel like it will be too expensive, lengthen your commute, or cause other pain points? If so, again, it’s a good idea to have multiple options to choose from.
Not Being Ready to Move
Your search for an apartment rental doesn’t theoretically end until you get the keys to your unit. But when the big day comes, what if you’re not prepared? There’s nothing worse than scrambling at the eleventh hour to cram a moving truck full with your belongings. Moreover, your furnishings and mementos could even get damaged as a result of poor planning. As a general rule of thumb, upon deciding on a place to live, you should plan for a specific moving date that is approved by your landlord. Be sure to pack in advance so your belongings are organized and transported with care, and don’t forget to pre-book the moving truck and ask for helpers if you’ll need them!
Finding an apartment that is right for you can sometimes be a long process. However, if you come prepared, such as knowing what kind of home you want, you can avoid common mistakes and enjoy a wonderful experience. When looking to rent an apartment, our specialists here at CLV Group and InterRent REIT are happy to help. We have multiple listings within cities in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. Contact us today!