Your Basic Guide to Finding an Apartment

It can be a challenge to find an apartment that feels right, fits out needs, and it within our budget. Not only is it exhausting to search for hours for the right apartment, but it's also discouraging.

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You’re tired of living in a place that’s too far away from work, too small, or otherwise doesn’t suit your lifestyle. You’ve looked at many listings, but nothing seems quite right.

The process can be efficient and stress-free with access to the correct information. Using the Internet is a great way to begin searching for resources about what's legal, essential tips, budgets, and renter's insurance. Word-of-mouth requests for help from friends and family is another excellent way of finding an apartment. Let’s look at some additional tips and landlord requirements.

Legal Landlord Requirements

It isn't uncommon for a landlord to run a renter's credit. When this occurs, they can determine if their potential client has a bankruptcy or they aren't paying their bills. It's legal for landlords to perform this credit check before approving potential tenants. Beyond looking at whether or not they should accept a tenant, there are legal requirements landlords must follow, and they include:

  • Manage security deposits: when a landlord uses their right to charge a security deposit, these funds do not belong to them. Instead, these funds are to be put into an account the landlord manages in case the tenant damages the property, breaches their lease agreement, or fails to pay their rent.
  • Disclose owner information: the purpose of this legal obligation, which should occur in writing, is so tenants know who to contact with maintenance requests, rent collection, or other issues with the property.
  • Deliver possession of unit: what this means is that, on the day of move-in, it's the landlord's responsibility to ensure the property is vacant and ready.

It’s essential for potential tenants to know that these legal requirements for landlords vary from state to state.

Tips to Find a Good Apartment

  • Tour Properties in Person: you can look at pictures all day, but nothing compares to being in an apartment to experience the environment in person. You can have a first-hand look at what the community has to offer, as well as what the interior spaces are like throughout the tour.
  • Develop a checklist: when looking at potential properties, create a list of features you can't live without. Remember that some may need to be omitted based on your budget. For example, you may love the idea of living in a gated community with two car garages, a pool and tennis court. However, your budget may allow you to rent in a community with covered parking and a pool.
  • Find a Real Estate Broker: when you talk to a real estate broker about your needs, as well as your budget, they can find the perfect apartment. Not only do they work hard to accomplish this goal, but they don't charge you to look for rentals. When you find a real estate broker specializing in rental properties, then your situation will improve even more.

Is Tenant Insurance Worth It

While it isn't as popular as homeowners insurance, insurers offer renters insurance specifically tailored to suit the needs of tenants. Many renters don't believe it's worth it for them to buy this insurance because they don't understand what it covers. When a renter purchases rental insurance, it will cover their personal property within their apartment unit, as well as provide renter's liability. Those who have ever fallen victim to theft know first-hand that having renter’s insurance is valuable. While it isn't mandated by state governments for renters to carry this insurance, you'll find that an increasing number of landlords are making it a requirement for their tenants to purchase policies. They’re doing this not only as a protection for their tenants but for themselves as well.

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