Learn from our property management experts!
It’s almost time for the new school year! Are you preparing to live in an apartment off-campus this year? There are a few things you need to keep in mind when looking at apartments this year. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your apartment search:
The most important aspect to keep in mind is your budget. Make sure you know what you can afford to spend on rent and utilities. Take the time to figure out your budget and living expenses before you start looking at places to live. Don’t forget about the cost of your education! Know about all the upfront costs for an apartment before you sign the lease—because that may be the deciding factor for whether or not you can afford to live there.
Upfront costs will be due when you sign the lease before moving in. If you don’t have a regular income, you may need someone (like a parent or family member) to co-sign your lease. There are a few different fees that you’ll be required to pay before moving in:
Move-in fees cover the costs of touch-ups to the rental. This includes stuff like new paint, carpet cleaning, keys, and sometimes reprogramming security. No one wants to live in someone else’s filth! The move-in fee covers this and more. This way the apartment will feel new when you move in.
A security deposit covers the cost of any damage that may happen to the apartment while you live there. This deposit may be refunded when you move out if the apartment stays in good condition.
The application fee typically covers the cost the landlord or property management spends on a background and credit check. The landlord/management wants to make sure they have responsible people living in their units!
You may need to pay a holding fee if you can’t sign the lease or move in right away. The landlord/management may charge a holding fee to keep the rental unit open for you. Otherwise, they may lease it to another person.
Recurring costs will be the money you spend every month to live in the apartment. You’re required to pay your rent unless you want to be evicted. How much money can you afford to spend on rent? Are you going to have roommates to split the rent with? You can easily find a rent affordability calculator online to help you figure out what you can afford.
Even when living in an apartment, you will still have utility bills to pay. Although this may depend on the property—sometimes utilities are included in the cost of the rent. Sometimes the rent may only include certain utilities like water and garbage. You need to consider how much it will cost to pay for your electric, gas, internet/cable, and other bills.
Some complexes may even charge for amenities. Many properties offer on-site amenities like gyms or even a pool, but they may come at an extra cost. Depending on the property, amenities might be automatically included in the price of rent. Sometimes they aren’t.
Once you know what your budget is, then it’s time to start looking at apartments. If you have a car then you’ll probably be able to save some money by living further away from campus. Or, if you live in an area with a public transportation system you may want to live close to a bus stop or train station.
Know what size apartment you are looking for. If you don’t need much space, consider renting a studio apartment that’ll be cheaper than a one-bedroom. If you need more space, then look for a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment. Are you going to have a roommate? Your roommate will likely want their room so a two-bedroom apartment would be best.
If you have a pet, then you will need to find a pet-friendly complex. Not all properties are pet-friendly, so make sure to double-check their rules before you seriously consider an apartment.
What amenities do you need? Not all properties offer the same amenities. Do your research and study each property to make sure you end up living in the right one. Not all rentals have appliances like a washer and dryer. If you’re ok with that, consider finding a nearby laundromat where you can do your laundry.
Some rental units come with their furniture. This may be more ideal for those who don’t want (or don’t have the money) to furnish their place. Furniture can be a burden for some student renters—especially when it comes time to move out and they have nowhere to put it.
Once you find an apartment that suits your needs and your budget, visit it in person to make sure it’s legit. Be wary of scammers and always look at a property’s reviews online!
For the best property management experience in Middle Tennessee, look no further than MMC. With a wide range of services including an in-house maintenance team, thorough resident screening, and access to licensed real estate agents, MMC can help you grow your business while freeing you up to pursue your passions. Call today!