How to Rent Your First Apartment (Tips BEFORE You Move)


Hey guys, it’s Suzanne with Arvabelle. In this video we’re going to go over some of the things that you need to do in
order to get your first apartment. So if you are among the many graduating
seniors right now, whether you’re getting out of high school or college or you’re
just moving out on your own for the first time, congratulations and welcome
to the expensive world of being an adult and not knowing what to do. Join us! It’s a great time. So I’m also going to put a link in the description box down below
where you can go and download a free PDF that just has a checklist of things to
look for in your apartment. So you can print it out, take it with you, have it next to you while you’re looking online whatever you want to do it’s there for
you. Basically in this video I’m just going to walk through how to know if you
can afford an apartment, how to actually find the apartment, make sure it’s in a
safe area, some scams that you need to watch out for because Craigslist is a
sketchy place, as well as some things that you can do to protect yourself and
your money – like your security deposit when you move into your apartment. Going into the first thing. You really need to figure out a budget. Gather your bank
statements or credit card statements whatever you have from the last few
months and really figure out your spending habits. How much are you
spending on groceries? On transportation? On clothing? You need to take all of
those into account and then add on the price of the apartment. Now let me tell you going to look at apartment is a little bit like walking into the dollar
store. You go in there thinking that you’re getting something for a dollar.
You take it to the cash register and they’re like, “five dollars please”. There are always going to be extra fees extra costs added on to whatever price of the
apartment that you see online. So you need to figure out what those extra fees
are. Is there an application fee? A fee for pets? Multiple pets? Multiple
roommates? What’s the parking situation? The laundry situation? Are utilities
included? Is it furnished – is furniture included? If you’re moving into a house
instead of an apartment, do you have to pay a homeowner’s association fee? Do you have to pay a yard fee? Do you need to pay for an alarm or security system? Also just be prepared to show proof of income because in a lot of higher
demand or higher-end areas, you’re required to make three times the monthly
rent. It’s also a good idea to kind of figure out what you’re going to do for
furniture. At first it really doesn’t matter. Just get free furniture from
family, or friends, or Craigslist or the thrift store – wherever. Just get cheap
furniture. You can update your furniture later on. Whatever you do, don’t go into
these expensive furniture stores that are offering no-money-down and only pay
$60 a month to get this big fancy thing. They charge insanely high interest rates
and they kind of expect you to not be able to pay it back. Then they hike up
your interest rate even more, and you can’t pay that either. So then it just
ends up ruining your credit. So the bottom line is, just know what you can
afford, have a budget, and don’t go crazy buying things that you don’t need. So now
getting into actually finding an apartment online. So I personally like to
use Apartments.com or ApartmentGuide.com but if you are looking to rent a
house or more of a condo/townhouse type situation, Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia – any
of those. Those are going to have more options for houses. Once you’re on one of
these websites, just go ahead and enter your budget into the max price. Even go a
little bit lower so that you can account for fees and stuff later. Sometimes on
these apartment websites, instead of actually listing the price it will say
“call for availability”. In some places like New York or Los Angeles you will
actually have to call to get the price but otherwise like 9 times out of 10
you can find the price either on one of the other websites, or you can Google
that specific apartment complex and find it there. And if you can it’s good to
find this information beforehand, even if it’s an old price. Then when you do call
to find out the current price, they know that you know what it was listed at
before, and they can’t rip you off. The most important thing is to read reviews
and especially read the bad reviews. And that’s actually that’s why I like using
the websites that are specifically for apartments, because they already have
reviews built into their system but in addition to those, go and look at
Google reviews and go and look at Facebook reviews
because sometimes on some of the sketchy apartments they’ll have one five-star
review on one website, but then on every other website, they’ll have like a
million one-star reviews and that is definitely 100% a red flag.
So if you don’t go that route and you instead choose to look on Craigslist or
Facebook you need to be aware of all these scams that are out there because
there are quite a few. So usually if how these will go down is you’ll see a
really cheap apartment or an apartment that just looks like a good deal, you’ll
contact the person, they’ll reply and they’ll give you some excuse as to why
you can’t see the apartment. They’ll either be like “oh sorry I’m out of town
um” “I’ll be back in like two weeks” or
something “but like send the deposit now” or they’ll be like “there are so many
people looking at this apartment you need to put down a deposit right now so
that we know that you’re serious about it”. Basically, just never give anyone
money before you go and actually see the apartment in person. In some cases you
may feel like you don’t have time to go look for an apartment. Like if you just
got a job and you have to be across the country in three days, I would go one
of two routes. First, which I personally think is a better option – just get a
hotel for a few days or week – however long you need to until you can go and
physically find a place. Because I would rather spend $500 at a hotel than give
$500 to a random person on Craigslist. If you absolutely cannot go look and maybe
you’re moving into a roommate situation that you found on Facebook or you are
renting from someone on Craigslist, there is something that you can do to try to
make sure that it’s more legitimate. Ask whoever made the listing to either
FaceTime you or Skype you, and make sure that you’re seeing their face talking to
you as they walk around the apartment. Don’t let them send you pictures, don’t
let them send you videos, it’s so easy to pull a picture off the internet or put a
voiceover over a video. Just try to check and make sure that they are legit people.
Bottom line is you really should go look at it in person. There’s such an easy way
to check if the apartments that you’re looking at are in safe areas. So if you
Google “Trulia crime map” and the city that you’re moving to, you
can pull up this map that shows all the plotted points of where crimes have
occurred and it gives you this nice little color gradient as you can see and
the darker blue areas are just where more crimes occur. So that’s a good way
to see if the apartment that you found for a great price is in a great area.
Also just when you go to tour the apartment complex, ask people who are
walking around if they like it. Especially if you’re a young woman, if
you see other women walking around ask if they feel safe. If there’s no one
walking around, go and knock on people’s doors they’ll either tell you that they
love it, they hate it, or you’ll find out that
they’re just straight-up crazy. Also if you can, just come back and drive through
the area at night because it may look fine during the day but you may not
really want to be out and about at night. Probably the most stressful part of
finding an apartment is dealing with the lease. So first you want to find out what
kind of lease it is. Especially if you are moving to a college town because
sometimes they’ll make it to where you’re responsible for only paying your
room’s lease to the landlord, and sometimes they’ll want all of the
roommates to collectively gather their money and one person will just pay it to
the landlord. You need to find out how long your lease
is. Is it 6 months? 12 months? 18 months? And you also need to ask how to properly
break your lease because in the event that, I don’t know, you lose your job or
you have to move out for whatever reason you need to know the terms of ending
your lease early so that that doesn’t follow you on your rental history and
ruin your credit. So you also need to just keep track of basic things like
when is your rent due? Is there a grace period where you can pay rent late? And
if so is there a fee for that? Is it rent controlled? Are you locked into the price
that you sign your lease for or can they raise the price? And if they do raise it
how often do they usually do that and by how much are they raising it? So if it is
your first apartment you’ll probably need a co-signer and all that is, is
usually a parent or older sibling someone that already has a credit
history established and maybe a rental history. It basically means that
if you are unable to pay your rent, they will be responsible for paying it. So if
you don’t have a co-signer you will need to have good credit. That’s a whole other
topic but if you want to see a video on maybe how to establish credit fix bad
credit I can make a video on that so just leave a comment down below.
Just ask the leasing office any questions that you have. Like if you get
locked out of your apartment do they have a number that you can call? Or if
the dishwasher breaks, or I don’t know, a window breaks,
do they have on-site maintenance workers that will come out and fix it for you? So
they have a list of contractors that you can call? Or are you responsible for
finding that? And finally keeping your money honey because they want your
security deposit real bad. When you go to sign your lease, before you sign, ask to
tour YOUR unit. Not a similar unit. The unit that you will be living in. The
reason for this is because apartments love to pull this little trick where
they’ll show you the newest most updated apartment, have you sign for a “similar”
unit, and then it won’t be like the apartment that you looked at – at all.
Really the only reason that they wouldn’t be able to show you the
apartment is if there’s someone currently occupying it, and if that’s the
case ask them to include a page in the contract – that they sign and that you
sign – that has the floor plan and any finishes that you’re expecting in the
apartment or whatever else. Always always always always get a copy
of your contract and leasing agreement. So this is just kind of a precaution to
take but if you’re subleasing from someone or you’re moving in with
roommates ask them to see their original contracts. Because in some cases someone
may have signed their original lease for $1000 and be trying to rent it to you
for like $1400 or something like that. So it’s just better
to see it and know that up front, decide if you’re ok with that, and then just go
from there. Just don’t let people take advantage of you. When you lease an
apartment you will have to put down a security deposit. That’s basically just
some amount of money that they decide on. They will keep that money if there are
damages that you caused. Now they will also keep that money sometimes if you
can’t prove that you didn’t cause the damages. So the best way to protect
yourself against this is to record a video of your apartment.
Do like a little apartment tour before you move anything in. Take pictures.
Record everything. Say the date in the video. And that way, when you move out if
there’s any dispute over whether or not something was damaged, you have that
video as proof. Having a video like that is also super helpful for my final point
which is renter’s insurance. Just get it it’s good to have it covers you if
something stolen, if your unit catches on fire, or like if your neighbor floods
their unit and the ceiling falls in and ruins all your furniture. I don’t know,
stranger things have happened. In the event that you do have to make a claim
with your insurance company, if you already have a video that shows what was
in your apartment, then they know what was in there, you know what was in there,
and it should be good if you have to make a claim. So I hope this video was
helpful. I will link the checklist that I was talking about in the description box
below. If you like this video be sure to give it a thumbs up. Subscribe. Follow us
on social media. Go check out our blog Arvabelle.com and share this with a
friend that’s looking for an apartment. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you
next week. Oh also, pro tip – when you’re moving into
your apartment bring a roll of toilet paper because you’ll need it. Bye

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