Renting your first apartment is an exciting experience. But that excitement is often accompanied by a considerable amount of stress and anxiety. Renting your first apartment is a big step in life, and being nervous about it is a normal reaction.

At Elevate Living, we strive to offer our residents the best living experience possible, and that starts with educating them about the apartment-searching process. To help first-time renters, here are a list of things you’ll want to know before you begin your search and sign a lease.

Create a Budget & Stick to It

Creating a strict budget for your apartment search is a tip that both first-time renters and experienced renters can benefit from. Before you start searching for potential apartments, you’ll want to create a budget to prevent yourself from touring apartments you either can’t afford, or touring apartments that are well below your budget.

When you start comparing apartments against each other, you want there to be an even playing field. If you start your search by touring an apartment that is beyond your budget, it’s going to be difficult for you to see apartments that are in your budget as you’ll be comparing the two apartments that are not equal. When that happens and you end up renting the apartment you can afford, you run the risk that you’re going to end up feeling like you settled for that apartment, when in reality the more expensive apartment was never truly on the table.

Not sure how to set a budget for your apartment? Here’s a comprehensive budgeting guide for discovering how much you can afford to allocate towards rent each month.

Roommates or no Roommates?

The previous tip of creating a budget for yourself may answer the roommate question for you. You’re going to want to know whether or not you need a roommate before you start looking at properties and floorplans. If you do need/want a roommate, it helps to have the roommate before you find a place, as then the two of you can split the apartment-searching responsibilities and have equal input into selecting the apartment.

But you don’t have to start by finding a roommate. If you want to have complete control over the selection process, you can always first find the apartment and find the roommate from there. Though, in that scenario you’ll want to budget conservatively and feel comfortable making the full rent payments for the first few months, just in case it takes you longer to find the perfect roommate than you initially anticipate.

Decide What You Need and What You Want

When it comes to apartment hunting, you’re going to want to establish the essential list of things that you need out of your first apartment, as well as some things that you’d love to have but aren’t dealbreakers. It helps to write these things down to have as a visual guide when searching.

For example if you have a car, having an apartment that provides a parking spot for your car would most likely be a thing that you’d list as a need. Any apartments that come up in your search that do not provide a parking space can quickly be eliminated. An apartment providing a heated parking space that will keep your car warm and dry during the cold winter months might be one of your wants. Down the line when you’re selecting between a few final contenders, a heated parking spot might be the decisive amenity that leads you to choosing an apartment.

As the classic Rolling Stones song reminds us, you can’t always get what you want. But if you can find an apartment that has all of your needs, and a few of your wants, you’ll be setting yourself up great.

Ask Plenty of Questions and Review Your Lease Before Signing

As you narrow down your list of contenders you’ll inevitably take a tour of the prospective apartments and meet with property managers. When you do, make sure that you gather as much information as possible. By asking plenty of questions on the front end, you’re greatly minimizing the chances that you’ll experience renter’s remorse down the line.

Once you have made your apartment selection and you’re about to sign the lease, make sure you read it in its entirety. Yes, leases can be long and aren’t the most thrilling of page turners, but you want to know precisely what you are agreeing to as a resident. Your lease is a binding document that will dictate the terms of your agreement throughout your tenure at your first apartment. You want to make sure you read it thoroughly so that you don’t have any surprises down the line.

After you do sign the lease, ask for a copy to keep on hand. Having a copy of your lease available to you will be nice to reference should you have questions about your agreement in the future.

Let Elevate Living Assist in Finding Your First Apartment

As a first-time renter, you’re going to want to be as informed and diligent as possible during your apartment search. However, not all renters have the luxury of time on their hands. Whether you have quick deadlines for closing on an apartment due to school, work, or something else, if you don’t have enough time to spearhead the apartment search yourself, having some help is a huge asset.

That’s where we come in. At Elevate Living, we utilize the combination of our large inventory of apartments and our years of experience to help renters find the perfect home. We can save you plenty of time, and hassle, by taking care of the searching process for you. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the perfect apartment.