Renting your first apartment is an exciting milestone. You get to choose where you live, who you move in with, and how to decorate the space. Before you can revel in the freedom, though, you and your roommates should take a few steps. All the paperwork you have to fill out might seem tedious, but it’s important to take these steps seriously. Don’t let the fine print or extra rules catch you unaware a month after you move in. Make sure you’re comfortable and prepared for life in your new place with this list of what to do before signing your first lease.
Ask All Your Questions
A lease is a legal document, which means that some of the terminology can be dense or confusing. Never be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification. There’s no such thing as being too picky when it comes to where you’re going to live. You’re the one paying a lot of money to live there, so make sure you’re happy and comfortable with the place. Plus, asking for clarification will prevent you from accidentally violating your lease, which could lead to fines or even eviction.
Get Everything in Writing
You might be able to work with your landlord to make adjustments to your lease. This could include deals on rent or utilities, promises to make future upgrades, or exceptions to certain rules. If you negotiate details like these, make sure you get them in writing for both you and your landlord to sign. If it’s not in writing, there’s no physical contract to hold anyone accountable. The property owner might forget or even neglect to follow through on their promises. Putting changes in writing creates a guarantee that everyone will keep their word.
Invest in Renters’ Insurance
Some properties will require you to have renters’ insurance while you live there. If your lease states that you must obtain renters’ insurance, make sure you find a policy that meets their requirements. Even if renters’ insurance isn’t a requirement, it’s still an important part of what to do before signing your first lease. Renters’ insurance covers your belongings in case of theft or damage. If something happens to your apartment—like damage from a fire or severe storm—your insurance provider will pay for expenses like a hotel bill or meals while you’re out of the location. The coverage and peace of mind are worth it, especially when you compare quotes and find an affordable policy.