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A Comprehensive Guide for First-Time Apartment Hunters

Young Woman Apartment Hunting on Her PhoneIf you’re thinking about renting your first Orange County apartment, possibly you’re equally excited and nervous. It reasonable to feel this way: despite that, there are numerous things to find out, from finding the right place to securing you can afford it and everything in between. Speed up the apartment hunting by preparing some important stuff in the beginning. By utilizing the following steps now, you can surely obtain and rent your first apartment like an expert in no time.

Crunch the Numbers

Before you begin your apartment search, you need to evaluate how much you can afford. To do this, you’ll need to make a monthly budget that indicates all of your income and expenses. At that point, you can calculate how much rent you can afford. A general guideline is to keep your apartment rent at around 30% of your income after taxes. Sort out the exact dollar amount. Now take a look at your budget. Do you have extra money left over after your other expenses to cover that sum? If not, you may need to take the appropriate steps before you’re able to start apartment hunting.

Look Beyond the Rent

Distinguishing how much monthly rent you can afford is a great first move, but there are some costs involved that you need to give consideration to. Mainly, you will need to pay a security deposit upfront along with the first month’s rent. The amount of this security deposit will differ from place to place, but it is usually the same amount as the rental payment.

There may also be other deposits and fees, such as credit check fees, utility deposits, and additional costs. Other than that, you’ll need to find out whether utilities are specified in the rent or if you will be responsible for paying for your own. Internet, cable, electricity, gas, water, and trash disposal are all standard utilities that will require enough money to get set up if they aren’t included in the rent. To make it simple, you could think of it in this manner: you’ll need to have at least 2 – 3 months of rental payments saved up to guarantee that you are prepared to move into your first apartment.

Application Basics

Once you’ve sorted out your finances, it’s better to start searching and applying for your first apartment. It is beneficial to have your application materials ready before you start so that when you find a place you prefer, you’re able to get that application done quickly. To rent an apartment, you’ll need a list of documents and information.

Although this list may depend from place to place, it’s advisable to have the following ready:

  • Your last two pay stubs or a bank statement
  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license or state ID
  • Credit report
  • Contact information for at least two references

Read the Lease

As you’re going through the rental process, carefully read through all of your lease documents – together with the fine print. A lease is a binding legal contract, which implies that once you sign it, you will be on the hook for anything that is specified in it. Have a clear understanding of your responsibilities, what your landlord will provide, how things like maintenance and repairs will work, and so on. Besides, ensure that the rental payment amount, security deposit amount, and other numbers are correct.

Ultimately, watch for any unusual or unexpected rules or clauses to make sure that you are comfortable following the rules stated in the lease. If you have any thoughts about something you see in your lease, don’t hesitate to consult someone you trust. In fact, the more you know about the apartment, the neighborhood, and your landlord before you rent from them, the better off you will be.


Are you looking for your first rental home in Orange County? Contact us online today or call us at 919-439-8989.

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