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Renter’s Checklist When Finding a New Place to Live

Few things are more stressful than finding a new apartment or home to rent. The possibilities can be overwhelming, the finances challenging and the consequences far-reaching. Is there on-site parking? Are you moving into a good school district? What’s the crime rate? And so on.

Unfortunately, stress and moving are too intricately intertwined to be completely separated. However, if you can check the following boxes off your to-do list, you should be able to keep your blood pressure in check.

Set a budget and stick to it

Most reputable landlords will lock you into a lease for six months to one year. That means you’re legally on the hook for the cost of rent for the duration. Generally speaking, rent should cost no more than 33% of your gross monthly income. 

Anything beyond that and you could find yourself stretched a little thin.

You’re also going to need to factor in the cost of utilities and other necessities of modern living, such as internet and cable. Research local options and providers to get a rough estimate of what your monthly expenses will be.

It’s also a good idea to figure out your credit score before you start applying. Some landlords will use that all-important number to knock you out of the running upfront.

Find a respected landlord or management company

Whoever collects your rent and fixes problems when they arise is going to be a big part of your life for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, those looking for a new apartment for rent should take a close look at the landlord or property management company. Use online resources, such as social media reviews, to find reputable property management in Memphis and other cities. If your municipality maintains some sort of rental license program, you should be able to determine whether a prospective landlord has a history of infractions that should give you pause.

Figure out the parking situation

With so many things to consider when picking a new rental, it’s easy to overlook the parking situation. But learning where you’ll be leaving your vehicle each night is crucial.

Are there off-street parking options? Or will you be fighting for a spot on the street night after night? And if you have to park on the street, does your insurance policy cover the various dings your vehicle inevitably will endure? Do you need to budget for monthly parking fees in a nearby ramp?

Greet the neighbors

Even if you’re not in the market for more friends, it’s still important to reach out to your prospective neighbors. They’ll know more about the neighborhood or complex you’re considering and are more likely to be honest about any possible areas for improvement. Plus, if you do end up moving in, you’ll have planted the scenes for a cordial relationship.

Identify any immediate maintenance concerns

When you’re checking out a new place, keep an eye out for any minor fixes that should be addressed before you move in. Even if it’s something that isn’t an immediate concern, you could find yourself on the hook for it later.

Also, check out the locks on the windows and doors and make sure they work and they’re solid. It’s vital that you feel safe and secure in your new home. If you’re at all uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to bring any issues to the landlord’s attention. If they’re reputable, odds are they’ll be happy to address any concerns.