A study conducted by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) found that approximately 35 percent of U.S. residents are living in rental housing a growing phenomenon reversing the uptrend in homeownership that had characterized the real estate market before the 2008 economic crisis, when more than 3 million homes were lost to foreclosure.
Considering these figures, renting your first apartment can be quite frightening. Why? As rental housing demand continues to increase and outstrip supply, many landlords will try to take advantage of your desire to find an apartment for rent as soon as possible. A small piece of advice: dont make a decision out of desperation. If youre desperate, youll most probably overlook some important things, such as the following five points you should consider before signing the lease.
- The right apartment for you. One important thing to keep in mind is that once you sign the tenancy agreement, youre stuck with that apartment until the term is up. Before starting to look for your first apartment to rent, consider how much you can afford to pay. According to Mary Schwartz and Ellen Wilson, statisticians at U.S. Census Bureau, a person should spend no more than 30 percent of his or her annual income on rent. The 30 percent income rule allows you to pay the rent without having difficulties affording necessities, such as medical care, transportation, clothing, and food. But this rule is arbitrary, which means that many people are devoting larger shares of their incomes to more amenity-laden apartments.
- In-person apartment visits. No matter how many photos and how much information you can find online about the apartment you intend to rent, its critical that you inspect the place in person. By simply visiting our website, for instance, you can find plenty of information about our Sugarloaf luxury apartment complex, floor plans, amenities, and even take a virtual tour. Furthermore, you can contact our professionals to inquire about unlisted features. However, the only way to get a real feel of the place is to have the apartment inspected in person.
- The contract (including the fine print). Before signing your first apartment lease, be sure that it incorporates all the points discussed with the landlord, including which apartment is being rented, who manages it, improvements promised, how much the monthly rent is, the amount of security deposit, penalties for late payments, length of tenancy, your responsibilities and rights, and how far in advance you need to notify the landlord about lease renewal. Also, read the fine print to find out pet regulations, code of conduct, subletting conditions, and how much it costs to break your lease. If there are any terms youre unclear about, ask the landlord for clarification or seek legal advice so you have a complete understanding of all the conditions before you sign.
- A thorough inventory. Before renting your first apartment, make sure that you go through the inventory. If the landlord didnt give you an inventory, prepare a list of all the items and point out any defects you observe. Taking photos of any preexisting damage, such as missing tiles in the shower, broken blinds, and stained carpets, will help you avoid paying for damage you didnt do. Ask the administrator to sign the inventory and give him a copy.
- Terms and conditions youre not happy with. Many people dont know they can negotiate the terms and conditions included in a lease; but this must be done before they sign the agreement. For instance, while the landlord is required by law to ensure that the building is structurally sound, there is hot and cold water, and keep the electrical, plumbing, and heating systems in good operating condition, he has no obligation to fix minor problems you may find annoying, such as running toilets, dripping faucets, and small holes in the carpet. However, many landlords agree to carry out additional repairs under the tenancy agreement.
If you’re looking for your first apartment on the beautiful Emerald Coast, we invite you to start your rental search with us. At Sugarloaf Luxury Apartments, Destin, FL, we provide a rich assortment of luxury apartments to fit every need and lifestyle. For more information on how to rent one of our apartments, feel free to call our customer service professionals at (850) 837-3131 or use our online form to send us a message.