Most apartment complexes require tenants to sign at least a one year lease, so renting an apartment is a commitment. Thus, it is important to know what you're doing before you agree to rent an apartment and sign a legally binding lease. If you plan on moving into an apartment in the near future, avoid the following mistakes:
Not Viewing the Apartment in Person
In this day and age, the internet makes it easy to search for apartments for rent from the comfort of your own home. While online searches can help you narrow down what is available, you should always view an apartment in person before renting it. Photos can be deceiving, and don't tell you everything that you need to know about an apartment. Viewing an apartment in person also allows you to tour the apartment complex before making your decision.
It is not uncommon for apartment complexes to have model apartments that they show to prospective tenants so they can get an idea of the size and layout of the unit. It is okay to decide to move into an apartment complex based on your tour of a model unit, but always make sure that you can tour the actual unit that you will be moving into before you sign a lease.
Failing to Budget Properly
When you move into an apartment, you will often need to account for more than just your monthly rent. Make sure that you find out what utilities you will be responsible for paying--some apartment complexes offer utilities at no extra cost, while others expect the tenants to pay for all of their utilities. You will need to budget for these expenses. It is also important to realize that move-in costs can be high, since a lot of apartment complexes require a damage deposit upfront. If you plan and budget for these expenses, you shouldn't have problems moving forward.
Neglecting to Read the Lease
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when renting an apartment is not reading the lease before signing it. An apartment lease may not be exciting reading, but it is essential to read each line so you understand the terms and conditions to which you are agreeing. If you are unsure about what a lease says, don't be afraid to ask questions or have the document reviewed by an attorney before you sign it. Reading every word on an apartment rental lease can save a lot of headaches and hassles down the road.