By Hannah Alvarado
Blog Content Contributor
So you’re ready to move out on your own. That’s great! But before you pack up and sign a lease for just anywhere, remember to stop and consider everything that goes along with that newfound freedom. Not so very long ago, I daylighted as a leasing agent for almost four years, working at several different properties and with several management companies. During that time I learned some key items you need to know before renting anywhere.
Do your research
I know it may be tempting to just Google “apartments near me” and drive to the nearest location on Google Maps, but that’s going to waste your time in the long run. When seriously considering moving anywhere don’t just head straight to a bunch of nearby places but instead, do some research online. Look up the floor plans. See if the community has an online system to tell you about prices, fees and neighborhood information. Check out their amenities and look up reviews on the property management company, as well as the leasing staff. Even if the place is brand new, I guarantee there’s at least one review out there. That way, when you show up you’re already a bit informed on what to expect.
Bring a state issued ID/passport
Speaking of when you show up, please remember to bring a state issued ID or a passport. This also goes for anyone accompanying you who is eighteen or older. If you show up empty handed, ready to rent and ready to view an apartment you’ll be turned away. It is a Texas law, guys. I can’t stress this enough. As a former leasing agent, I had to deny a lot of people a tour because of this law. True, it may be annoying but it’s for the safety of the leasing agent. Hey, their safety matters too!
The time you arrive to tour a community is so important so be mindful. If you show up at 4:55 p.m., and the office closes at 5:00 p.m., chances are the models will be in the process of being closed down and the golf cart put away, meaning that you may not get the full tour. Of course, the leasing agents are always going to do their best, but it’s the same thing as walking into a store that is about to close in five minutes. Even though the lights are still on and everyone is still there, you know darn well they’ve already started sweeping. To avoid things like this, I strongly suggest setting an appointment a day ahead of time. Simply call the office, tell them your name and ask what time would be best. This way, you can communicate your interests to the agent before ever setting foot on the property. Trust me, it’s not only beneficial but much appreciated.
Be aware of weather
So this one may seem silly but believe me, it’s going to make or break your tour. If it’s blazing hot outside, or pouring rain, keep in mind that you and your agent will have to trek out in that weather in order to tour the property. So many individuals I toured would come dressed to be safely tucked away inside forgetting that a golf cart cannot protect you from the elements the way a car can. Sometimes weather will be too extreme and properties will have to turn you away from tours. Please, just come on a nice day guys.
Read the Lease Contract
I know it sounds obvious but let me say this again: read the lease contract! This is by far the most important rule. Please remember that the lease contract is a legally binding document, and should not be taken lightly. The first eight pages are going to contain vital information about fees, lease beginning and ending dates, official address, policies and information about breaking lease. And that’s all just the first eight pages! If you’re having trouble understanding the language of the contract, as I know there is a lot of legal jargon in there, ask your leasing agent to go over it with you. Sometimes they send you a link to a helpful video, and other times they’ll go through page-by-page, putting everything into plain English. Trust me guys, it may be tedious but it will save you in the end.
Renting can be a lot, but these five simple things will make your experience go a whole lot smoother. After all the touring, and signing of documents, the moving and rearranging; before you know it, you’ll be home sweet home.
Featured image by Nicholas Garcia.