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The Rules of Renting

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You’re finally taking the plunge and moving out on your own! Welcome to a life of independence, freedom and… bills. What a mood killer those pesky things are. Hopefully you’ve given some serious thought as to what your bank account will look like once you’re living the life. But if you haven’t, make sure you avoid these mistakes that nearly all first-time renters make so you don’t end up back in your parent’s basement.

While you can usually count on emergency money solutions through businesses like http://wonga.ca, the best idea is to prepare yourself for the worst. Don’t make the mistake of under budgeting or thinking things won’t be as expensive as they truly end up being. Before you sign your lease, sit down and make a budget for yourself, and make sure you overestimate when figuring costs for things that aren’t set prices each month.

Also keep in mind expenses that will pop up when you first move into your new place. There are generally application fees, security deposits, and fees to turn on electricity and cable. And if this is your first place and you don’t have any furniture, you can guarantee that your expenses will be pretty steep.

If you’re moving in with a roommate, be wary. While you might have been best friends your whole life, many a relationship have been ruined by living with someone completely incompatible. They may be fun to go to the occasional party on the weekend with, but is your roommate going to be able to pay the bills on time? Maybe they’re a lot sloppier than you realized. Remember that if you’re both signing the lease, you’re both legally responsible for the apartment, regardless of whose fault a problem might be. If your roommate bails halfway through the lease, you’ll be in just as much hot water as they are. So the moral of the story is to choose your roommate carefully.

One of the most important things to do when finding your apartment is to read the fine print. Make sure to check out the apartment before agreeing to anything (never rent something you haven’t seen) and while you’re getting the tour, make a checklist of fees they’ll expect you to pay. If you’re getting a special on the apartment, make sure you understand exactly what the special includes and when you can expect it to go away. If you’re receiving a discount on your rent for the first six months and you’re unable to pay full price once the deal is up, don’t sign the lease. The last thing you want is to start your adult life off at a collection agency.

Make sure you understand what you’ll have to pay upon move-out, as well. Will they charge you for repainting? Then don’t paint your room pink. If you’ve taken pictures and documented any damages upon moving in, you don’t have to worry about any additional damage charges they may try to hit you with.

Most of all make sure your priorities are straight. Think long and hard before you jump into such a big commitment.