It’s time to leave the nest… Dorm room or parents house. Renting for the first time doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. Good thing that there are millions of Americans that have done the same, and there are helpful tips so that you will not get scammed.
First things first, make sure that your finances are looking good: credit score and budgeting. A good credit score is important because most landlords use a credit check to vet potential renters, the higher your score the better opportunities you’ll find. Financial counseling could be a good idea to help build up your creditworthiness. As for budgeting, an average rental cost is 30% of your income. If you go with the 50/30/20 rule of budgeting, 50% of income should be fixed costs (rent, car, utilities, insurance, etc.), 30% to flexible spending (clothes, food, gas, etc.) and 20% to saving or paying down debt. If you’re looking for a place to rent and it’s going to cost 80% of your monthly income you know you’re not going to be able to sustain the budget.
When looking for your first rental online sources are usually the first place to look, but this can be hazardous when looking at sites like Craigslist. Phantom rentals, better known as scammers that often advertise rentals that don’t exist or aren’t available in order to trick prospective tenants into sending them money. Here are some clues: They are telling you to wire them money, or send a security deposit and/or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease or viewing the property, or to send any type of information as social security, card numbers, important government documents. To report a scam, contact local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission.
Research: find out all you can about rental properties before you sign a lease. Look up reviews, if you see similar negative comments about the landlords frequently, you should pass on that and keep looking. Also, make sure that you research the area in which you are thinking of moving to. Is it worth cheaper rent to live in a high-crime rated neighborhood or better to live in a safer environment but have a longer commute?
Have renter’s insurance or at least make sure the property management team does. Renter’s insurance protects the valuables inside your home, whether it is an apartment or rental house. If there were an incident like a fire, water leak, theft, the landlord’s insurance will cover the building itself, but you would still need to replace your own property if it were damaged.
When it is the big day to move, make sure that you research moving companies. There are plenty of schemes out there, especially in more populated cities. Always check reviews, social media and ask around what is an admirable company. Compare prices, ask friends and family what is a fair price since this is your first time moving.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! This is a process that everyone must go through, just another step into adulthood. There are people out there that will be willing to give you helpful advice and can spot out what a decent first place can be: family, friends, or C.A.B Group! Remember to have fun, being a renter for the first time can be a great and crazy experience!