When you want to check out places for rent, there’s lots to consider; from location, to size, to amenities, right down to neighbours! In a metro city, the options are endless! Are you outdoorsy, more of a concrete jungle lover, rate your convenience above all? Whatever the need, these are all things to think about and then some.
Places For Rent Tips
When looking at places for rent, there are a few ground rules to set before moving forward. The following set of tips can be helpful for anyone setting off on their own for the first time or beyond.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget is what you need to do first to start the process of elimination and narrow your search. This will save you time and effort. When setting a budget, remember that your gross income should be at least 3 times the cost of your lease.
Common utilities that you will be billed for are water, hydro (electricity), heat, air conditioning, parking, cable and WIFI. Some landlords include as part of your rent, which is great but many don’t. AC and heat are a major component, eating up most of the utilities budget but the rest can creep quickly. Put aside a couple of hundred dollars a month to be safe.
Protect yourself and your belongings with tenant insurance, like electronics, clothes, and furniture. The policies offered can be protect against major types of loss, including theft, fire, and even accidental damage.
Guarantor (if needed)
It’s common practice for landlords to ask for a co-signer or guarantor if you don’t have a job, lack of credit history or your salary is under the required cap. This is just a guarantee for the landlord that if you were to default on your rent, someone else is going to pick u your tab. Of course, that’s not the goal but it’s just a safety net. Start by asking your parents, siblings or a close friends to take on that role.
First and Last
Another common practice is for landlords to ask for the first and last month rent before you move in. Accounting for these before your move date is essential.
Choose a Neighbourhood
Choose a neighbourhood based on your needs. Are you single, couple, family? What suits a single person’s lifestyle may not suit the needs of a family. Salt Lake City neighbourhoods for example, have plenty to offer based on your needs. Starts with learning about the popular neighbourhoods:
- Downtown is the heart of SLC’s culture and nightlife. It has lots of new apartments and condos, but it can be pricy living there. It attracts professionals and couples looking for city life with amenities that are steps away. As with any downtown, it is exploding with shops, restaurants and nightlife, art galleries and even farmer’s markets.
- Central City is the middle ground between downtown and suburban living. It’s a charming neighbourhood with a lot of character. You’ll find trendy eateries, art galleries, historical landmarks, and small mom-and-pop shops, especially around the hip 9th & 9th District. It brings in young professionals and families looking for urban living with plenty to do, on an affordable budget as rent is considerably less than the Salt Lake City average.
- Sugar House is one of the most popular neighbourhoods in SLC. It’s proud of its hip bars and gastro pubs and local shopping scene. Home to Westminster College, it gives it that young feel, exuding a cool, eclectic vibe. The area sees itself housing young professionals and families seeking outdoor and recreational activities, thanks to it expansive park. Rent prices in the neighbourhood are slightly below the city’s average, though they’ve been rising.
- The Avenues is Salt Lake City’s oldest neighbourhood. This quiet residential area features Victorian-style homes, and is in close proximity and easy commute to downtown. It’s popular among university students, young professionals and families. Prices vary significantly throughout the area though generally lower than the city average.
- Capitol Hill is one of SLC’s most desirable and expensive neighbourhoods. Seen as charming, historic, and liberal, it’s home to families and professionals with its magnificent valley views and stunning architecture. The neighbourhood is almost entirely residential but is within walking distance of downtown.
- Rose Park was actually laid out to look like several roses. This neighbourhood is one of Utah’s most ethnically diverse areas attracting many young families. It’s small, walkable, and laid back, within a short, 5 minute commute to downtown.
Research Apartment Complexes
Researching places for rent goes without saying with the array of search engines and apps. If you happen to fall on a location you strongly desire, check the reviews from residents. If there are problems with the building, chances are you won’t know from agents, especially if they are working on a commission. Find out for yourself. If you can check it our in person, even stop a tenant to ask them questions, great! But also be weary of reviews, remember that it’s people at extreme ends that tend to be vocal, and usually the negative ones. You can average it against how many people live in the complex to get a better understanding of the ratio.
Inspect The Location
Inspection is primordial, especially in In big cities. Pests like bedbugs can be a real issue. It’s important to check the woods, closets, baseboards, anywhere where they can hide as they can be dormant for a while. You should also verify the heating and cooling, water and electricity systems to make sure they are fully functional. During your visit, check the hallway, elevators, stairway to determine cleanliness in the places for rent.
Measure Floor Space
We often get excited when we see a place for rent we deem perfect. Before you pack your stuff and sign the lease, envision how you want to lay out your furniture, measure, don’t just eyeball, and have handy all your major furniture dimensions.
If something doesn’t fit, you will have to either sell it or store it. If you don’t have enough to cover the space, you need to budget for more pieces. Shopping is fun but remember not to rush. Buy whatever is missing only once everything is set up. Give your new place a few weeks to get comfortable and fall in love with what it is you truly need to make it complete.
Verify Wall Thickness
If you’ve lived in an apartment, raise your hand if your parents always tell you to keep it down? Even the quietest kids were told to shut it on the regular. That’s because apartments means having neighbours at each side. Noise travels and the walls aren’t always cancelling it out, especially in older buildings. To find out, schedule a visit in the early-morning hours on a weekday. This is the time when people tend to be at home getting ready for work or school, so you’ll get a chance to learn if soundproofing is indeed present.
Check Storage Availability
We humans often collect too many things, especially in purchasing economies like North America. No matter how big your place is, you’ll run out of space. This is especially true if you have the following:
- sports, art, music, cooking equipment
- winter gear
- anything else in between
You can always opt to rent out a storage space but that’s expensive and inconvenient. Unless you’re renting a 3 storey house, an apartments doesn’t have a basement to stash your unsightly items. However, there are complexes that offer storage space in the garage area or a locker of some sort which might be worthwhile if you’re overflowing with things.
Clarify Parking Situation
Parking space near apartment buildings is limited. If it’s abundant, it’ll cost you. So if you have a car, ask about the parking policy right away. In some areas, it requires street permits that exempt you from street parking limitations.
Evaluate Public Transit
Public transportation is key for any city dweller. Even if you have a car, knowing that you have access to public transit in your neighbourhood is important. If you’re in SLC, the Utah Transit Authority makes navigating the city simple, offering buses, light rail, and commuter rail access. If that’s your main mode of transportation, you’ll want to opt for an area with those offerings where the walking distance to a transit stop is not too far and the commute to work (if you’re not part of the work from home cohort) and other amenities is not taking half of your day. In SLC, bus fares and gas prices are 7% higher than the national average, so you’ll need to budget for it monthly.
Many of the individual neighbourhoods are walkable, particularly the downtown area. However, you’ll need to rely on public transportation or a personal vehicle to get between neighbourhoods.
Look For Amenities
If you’re in Salt Lake City, it was recently named one of the top 10 best places to live in America. Its picturesque scenery, family-friendly environment, reasonable cost of living and great job growth make it attractive to live in. You can spend afternoons hiking, rock climbing, or dipping in one of the rivers. In the winter, get on the slopes at one of the nearby ski resorts. Indulge in the Sundance Film Festival or other entertainment options. Knowing where you can go for respite but you will also need to check where you can go get groceries, send the kids to school and sign them up for recreational activities. Making sure these spots are accessible and within your vicinity will load some stress off you in the long run.
The Gist of it
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