Whether you are moving out on your own to rent an apartment for the first time or you have sold your home and need a place to live in the meantime, it is helpful to be prepared for the apartment search and rental process. Anytime you are prepared in advance for a specific process, it can make the process go more smoothly with less stress on your part. Here are some preparation tips to help you find and apply for rental apartments.
Calculate Your Rental Budget
One of the first things you should consider in preparation is how much rent you can afford. Start with your take-home pay each month and subtract from it your monthly expenses, such as utilities, vehicle insurance and loan payments, credit card payments, a savings allowance, and other financial obligations outside of housing. The amount you have left over gives you a limit of what you can afford for your rent.
Keep in mind that most property managers will qualify your income based on a general rule before they can consider you as a tenant. This rule will look to make sure your monthly income is approximately three times as much as the rent. Doing your own calculations before hand can help you find a rental figure that is comfortable for your budget.
Contact the Landlord or Property Manager
As soon as you find a location of a home or apartment community you are interested in renting from, you will need to contact the rental office, property management company, or the landlord who owns the property. You will be able to view the inside of the home or apartment and see what unit is available and when it is available to rent.
Most rental properties will have a rental sign in the yard or posted on the window of the property listing the phone number to call for inquiries. If the apartment community does not have an outside sign, there is usually a rental office you can visit to get a private tour and details about the property.
Gather Your Application Information
When you have decided to apply for residence at a rental property, you will need to fill out a rental application, pay an application fee to cover the tenant screening process and any background and credit checks, and provide supplemental information for your application.
Some types of supplemental information you may be asked for can include copies of your last few pay check stubs, your last year's tax return, and a valid government issued identification card. You may also be asked to provide names and phone numbers for personal references and the phone number for your job's employment verification department.
It can be helpful to collect this information and paperwork so you have it on hand when you meet with the landlord or property manager. They will be able to begin the application screening process immediately to give you a decision on your application.