Leasing your first apartment can be both exciting and a little scary. The first thing to remember is that the property management at your new complex is there to help, and the relationship you build with them is about navigating the sometimes-tricky waters of being a tenant. For both sides to get the most out of this relationship, there are some important tips to keep in mind.
Read the Fine Print
An apartment rental lease is a contract, plain and simple. You’ll want to carefully read (and understand) your lease agreement before checking off any boxes or signing on any dotted lines. Not only does your lease contain information about daily living, but it will also help you understand your rights as a tenant. If you have any questions, the time to ask them and get answers is before entering into this legally binding agreement.
Once you’re happy with the lease agreement, keep a copy handy at all times. It should also include forms and pictures that outline the condition of your apartment when you move in. This way, you can compare it to the condition you leave it when you move out and ensure you get your full security deposit back.
Pay Your Rent (On Time)
It sounds like a no-brainer, but you need to make sure you can afford monthly rent payments before signing your lease. Consider what would happen, too, if times get tough and you may find your finances in a tight spot one month — could you still be able to cover rent? Think about the answer carefully. Also, make sure to submit payment on time every month or even early.
The key here is to establish a track record of dependability with your property manager. If you run into some bumps in the road paying rent, you may get a little leeway based on your past timeliness. Some landlords can even report payment status to credit bureaus which improves your scores that will eventually work in your favor when you’re ready to make a big purchase (like a house).
Invest In Insurance
Renter’s insurance is often a required purchase for many apartment properties, but even if it’s not it’s a smart move to make as a first-time renter. You’ll likely spend a good deal on the right furniture and decorations for your first place, and if something were to happen to your belongings without insurance coverage, you would likely have to bring your landlord to small claims court to recoup the losses.
If your property management allows pets, there’s a good chance they’ll also require pet insurance. Even the most well-trained dogs can have accidents and the most docile cats can mark their territory. Pet insurance covers both you and your landlord from damage done by your furry friends.
Mind the Maintenance
Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news, but part of building a good relationship with your property management team or landlord is letting them know about any maintenance issues ASAP. Big repairs can become even bigger problems if left unchecked; leaks, for example, can turn into moisture trapped in the walls and develop into mold.
On that note, it’s important to know which problems are considered “big” and which are minor fixes that you can do on your own. Changing light bulbs, replacing smoke alarm batteries, or unclogging toilets are all a part of the learning curve when you move into your first place. These are little things you can tackle that are a part of living on your own. Your property management team will appreciate you taking on these responsibilities.
Own Your Rental
When it comes to leasing your first apartment, act like you own it. Keep it clean, take care of the property, and be a neighborly resident, and it will go a long way towards building that all-important relationship with your property manager. Adopting this “own it” mindset also helps to ensure that you get your security deposit back when you’re ready to move out.
When you work hard to take care of your first rental, you build important habits that help you in addition to cultivating a great relationship with the property management team. Ready to dive into leasing your first apartment? We manage a range of properties that fit any and every budget, and we’re ready to build a relationship with you. We operate our communities ourselves and occasionally sell them to interested parties who share our commitment to maintaining them at the highest level possible. Let us show you your new home!