11 things to know as a first time renter

key, front door

11 things to know as a first time renter

Moving into your first apartment is exciting. You have a new sense of freedom, but also a lot more responsibility. When you are looking for your first apartment, there are a lot of pieces to consider. You will have to look at neighborhood, budget, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, utilities, and amenities.  If it is your first time renting, do some research and see what is going to be the best fit for you. To start, we have put together a guide of 11 things you should know and do as a first time renter.


Before looking at apartments, budget how much you are willing to spend and understand that more expenses are involved than just the monthly rental rate. Other expenses include utilities (electric, heat, water, sewer, garbage), cable/internet, pet rent or deposits, application fees, and rental deposits. Some of these items may be included in your monthly rent, while others may not. You may also want to budget for furniture, kitchenware, and decorations.

It is important to set a budget so that you never get yourself into a situation where you can’t pay rent. If you are unable to pay rent, you may be evicted, which can hurt your chances of renting at certain properties in the future.


As mentioned previously, some utilities may be included in your monthly rent, while others may not. When you are apartment shopping, ask about what is included. This will hep you figure out what is in your budget.

Additionally, you will want to set up the utilities you are responsible for in your name before moving in. If you are unsure which company to reach out to, contact your property manager or leasing agent.

Tour the Community

Before signing your lease, it is a good idea to schedule a tour to get a better sense of what the property and community is like. When you go on a tour, you can get a better feel for what the dimensions of the space are, plan out what furniture you want where, and scope out the amenities.

Application Process

Usually the application process involves a check of your background, credit, and rental history. Many rental agencies will have qualifications you have to meet regarding these areas in order to rent from them. There may be a fee that goes along with the application, so ask what the requirements are before applying and then determine whether it is worth it to apply or not.

Mailing Address

While you are setting up the big move, update your mailing address. You can do this by stopping at a postal office or by filling out an online application.


When you sign your lease, your property manager may require a security deposit in case the lease is broken or damage is done to the property.  To get your security deposit back, pay attention to the rules and be sure not to damage your apartment or the property. To read through our ten tips for receiving your deposit back, click here.

Read your Lease

Before signing your lease, read through it carefully. It is legally binding, so you want to be sure you understand what is and is not allowed.

Know the Rules

Read and follow the rules for the community. The rules could include information regarding where guests can park, where you can park, if there are quiet hours, whether smoking is allowed, and what the pet policy is.

Purchase Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance can save you in the event your apartment gets broken into, a fire occurs, a pipe bursts, or something similar happens. Many rental companies will require you to have renter’s insurance, but even if they don’t, it is a good idea to purchase it, as it could save you in the long run.

For more information on renter’s insurance, read our blog post about it here.


There is a lot of benefit to having a roommate, including always having someone around to chat, watch movies with, and share the rent with. But sometimes things go awry and one or both of you ends up feeling upset, mad, or annoyed. To avoid this, it is important to be careful when picking who you live with and making sure you communicate expectations prior to moving in together. If you choose to move in with a roommate or significant other, communicate early and often about who is responsible for what so that you can avoid dramatic situations. Here is our guide to solving roommate drama.

Document Everything

While you are moving in, document the state of your apartment. Take photos and videos of what appears to be in bad condition. This will help you make sure that you get your full deposit back since you have proof of what the conditions were. As you are moving out, take additional photos and videos to show what conditions were like on the day you moved out.

If you have any questions about the rental process, our team of qualified experts would be happy to help you through the rental process.