If you are getting ready to move out on your own for the first time, you are probably looking to rent an apartment. It is an exciting time but also a bit scary. When you start looking at the different apartment complexes, there are a few things you need to consider before signing a lease, or you could end up having to move back home.
While it is pretty obvious you need to be able to afford the rent, there are other expenses to think about, too. If the apartment for rent does not include utilities, you will have to pay them yourself. This will probably mean that you need to put down a deposit with each of the different utility companies before they will turn the power on. If the rent does include utilities, make sure you know which ones and if you are charged extra for going over a certain amount. In addition, you may be required to purchase renter's insurance with specified minimums. It is important that you know every expense involved in renting the place before you decide if you can afford it or not.
Where you live is more important than you realize. You don't want to live in an area where you do not feel safe going outside in the evening. You should look for an apartment that is close to the other places you go to frequently. You do not want to always be late to work or school because it takes a long time to get there. Add 15 to 20 minutes or more to the average drive time to allow for traffic problems or having to stop for gas. Now consider how long you really want to have to drive every day. It is also a good idea to have a few amenities, like a gas station and convenient store, nearby for times when you can't or don't want to go too far for staples.
Read the lease entirely. Make sure you understand how long it is good for, exactly how much and when you need to pay, who takes care of damages and repairs, the pet policy, and how long visitors can stay with you. Ask questions if you are not sure of something to avoid having extra fees added to your rent or getting evicted.
Renting an apartment provides you with your own space, yet it can also provide you with a community to become involved in. Do not just go with the first place you look at that you can afford. Look for amenities you will use and enjoy, too. Getting the right place will make your first apartment a place you will always remember.