It could seem that leasing an apartment is much less of a job than buying a home. In some respects, this is logical. Nonetheless, the procedure for leasing an apartment shouldn’t be dismissed, especially if you’re looking at a comparatively pricey and sought-after market such as San Francisco. From saving money to understanding the legislation, apartment renters need to be every bit as savvy as homebuyers.
Most people have a budget. When leasing an apartment, consider it. Opting for a more compact size location can save you considerable dollars. In San Francisco, for example, that the 2010 fair market rent on a studio apartment is $1,144, versus $1,406 to get a one-bedroom and $1,760 to get a two-bedroom. Move as much as some three-bedroom pad, and you’re going to pay roughly $2,350, based on National Low Income Housing Coalition data. If you’re single, consider your requirements. A two-bedroom supposed to accommodate a workplace or the occasional guest may be little more than an unnecessary drain on your finances.
Especially in cities with an older housing stock like San Francisco, appearance can be deceptive. A beautifully maintained Victorian seems like the better alternative to a lot of renters than a 1950s-style horizontal front box. While personality is a going concern, look beyond cosmetics. If the plumbing in the hip apartment you’re taking a look at is old and constantly on the fritz, the updated and well-maintained (although architecturally flawed) apartment complex unit could be the better bet.
Place things. Since Rent.com advises, consider your commute when getting set to rent an apartment. If you work in the city and are opting for a suburban apartment to save a few bucks, then consider how much it will cost you to move to and fro. If you could walk into work in the city, a few dollars more in rent could be canceled out by lower transportation costs. Along similar lines, assess the lifestyle changes you may need to endure, especially if you’re moving from the city to the’burbs. Some suburban places do not offer the conveniences found in large cities, such as bountiful entertainment, shopping, nightlife and a walkable landscape.
Since Erin Burt of Kiplinger.com warns, make sure you see your apartment until you agree to rent it. Sounds mad, but some people don’t. For instance, if you’re leasing an apartment in a large complex, maybe you looked in a model unit, not the real one that you will inhabit. This is a lousy idea. As Burt notes, something as straightforward as not fitting your couch through the doorway can sour the entire experience. If you’re moving from afar, beware of leasing sight-unseen online. The slickest ads often hide the largest rat traps.
Your apartment rental can double as a blessing and curse. Since Burt notes, it contains basic, comparatively mundane advice such as who will be residing in the unit. Pay attention to the fine print, however, in regard to who pays what utilities, the way your landlord manages pets and what happens in the end of your rental. In the majority of instances in California, your first arrangement runs for a year before transitioning to some month-to-month pact.