Renting an apartment for the first time can be a landmark moment in your life. However, without proper planning, you might find yourself under a lot of stress during the process. But not to worry, you don’t have to start uninformed! We’re here to let you know the basics with this handy first apartment checklist.
The Approval Process
First things first: If you’re renting an apartment for the first time, you’ll need to get approved for it. There are several things that a landlord or property manager will look for.
- Income: In most instances, your monthly income will need to total 2.5 or 3 times the rent amount. Be ready to provide pay stubs or other documents proving compensation from your employer.
- Credit: Apartment complexes will want to verify your credit score via a major credit agency. The higher the credit score, the more likely an applicant is to fully pay debts in a timely manner.
- Rental History: Your rental history will be reviewed to make sure you haven’t damaged prior residences or skipped out on payments.
- Public Record: You will often have to consent to a criminal background check when applying for an apartment. It may be difficult to secure a lease if you have a criminal charge within the past 10 years.
Furniture, Equipment, and Supplies
As a first time renter, you’ll need to make sure you have basic furnishings, as well as some other vital items. Break your most-needed items down into these categories.
- Bedroom: Bedding, bed frame, mattress, laundry hamper, mirrors, nightstand
- Bathroom: Hand and bath towels, hand soap, trash can, toilet paper, bath mats, shower curtain
- Kitchen and Pantry: Tables, chairs/stools, dishes, drinkware, utensils, cookware, toaster, spice rack, measuring and cutting tools
- Living Room: Sofa, coffee table, lamps, entertainment center, wall decor
- Closets: Clothing hangers
- Medicine: Prescription medications, cough/cold medicine, first aid kit
- Cleaning Supplies: Mop, broom, vacuum cleaner, laundry detergent, dish soap, air freshener, toilet scrubber, multi-surface cleaning sprays and wipes
As you can see, there are plenty of things you’ll need when renting an apartment for the first time, but there are also a few things you’ll need to do. Make sure these are taken care of to avoid potential problems.
- Utilities: Set up your utilities well in advance, either through the city or your landlord/property manager.
- Forwarding Address: Make sure your mail gets to you. This can be done on the USPS website, and it only takes a few minutes.
- Document Apartment Condition: For maintenance purposes, you’ll usually be asked to walk through your new apartment and write down any pre-existing issues that you observe.
- Meet Your Neighbors: Introduce yourself to the people next door! Be especially sure to inform someone if you’re traveling.
- Learn the Neighborhood: Take a walk around the block and familiarize yourself with local points of interest.