This year, roughly 45 million people will choose to rent a home instead of buy – many for the first time.
When they move into their new place, they will quickly discover a number of things they didn’t realize they needed – whether it’s something aesthetic like wall art or essential like a recycling bin.
But while we can always go to Amazon.com and have those items delivered in a day, there are a few things that many renters don’t realize they’re missing until after it’s too late. Here are five rental reminders before the next big move:
1. Make sure you can afford it
Popular knowledge states that renters should not spend more than one third of their yearly salary on rent – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how much you should spend. Rent is only one of your monthly expenses; so don’t forget to budget for things like utilities, cable, Internet or even weekly groceries. Use an app like Mint to help create a monthly budget.
2. Know your landlord
Surprisingly, not a lot of new renters research their landlord or rental company before signing a lease. People research their restaurants before dining, so why not do the same with someone you’ll be paying rent to for a year? Check out sites like Review My Landlord or even Yelp for reviews.
3. Plan to buy renters insurance
Studies show that 66% of burglaries happen in the home, and renters are just as likely to be victimized as homeowners, yet fewer than 45 percent of them actually purchase insurance. The average price of renters insurance is only $15 a month, and saves you from financial calamity in the event of theft, accidents or property damage.
4. Pay your rent on time every month
It’s important to build a good rapport with your landlord to get good references in the future and to even help build up your credit score. The easiest way to do that is to pay rent on time each and every month, and if you do miss a payment or have to pay late, include a formal letter of apology to your landlord with your rent for his or her records. The BillMinder app is a great tool to pay rent and other bills on time every month.
5. Think safety
A neighborhood can seem safe and active during the day, but nighttime can tell a different story. Familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood by looking up local crime maps and signing up for sites like EveryBlock, which aggregates crime news from local outlets sources, public police reports and comments from local residents. Do your research and find a safe and fun neighborhood that suits you.
Moving into a new apartment should be memorable, hassle free and exciting.
And whether someone is renting for the first time, or the first time in a long time, it’s important to avoid the common mistakes renters make that diminish the overall experience.