Your lease is almost up, but you’re not ready to buy a home.
There are plenty of reasons to remain a renter and continue to enjoy the freedoms that come with leasing a living space. The only problem is that you want to move.
Use this guide to learn about eight things you should consider before buying your next apartment so you can feel confident when it’s time to sign your new lease.
1. Your Monthly Income
Will your monthly income change within the next year? You might be able to upgrade the size or quality of your apartment.
If not, you should start your search by looking for comparable rent. Don’t forget that many communities don’t include things like water, electricity and internet fees with their monthly charges. You might have to pay for utilities individually and require a bigger budget.
2. Your Daily Routine
A new unit may have a fancy kitchen or claw-foot bathtub, but if it turns your commute into an hourly drive to work, it may not be worth it.
Think about your daily routine to gauge where possible apartments are in relation to your work, school or other activities. The best place to live won’t make you compromise on how long you spend on the road.
3. Other Apartment Prices
Leasing managers will give you an estimate for whatever unit you’re interested in, but how do you know if you’re getting a reasonable price?
Compare other estimates from comparable rental communities. One unit may cost more than another, but they could also include valuable security features like a gated parking deck or fob-controlled elevators.
Anything that improves your safety is worth a few extra dollars.
It’s also an increasingly crucial thing to consider if you live in an area with high rates of burglaries or break-ins.
4. Recently Updated Reviews
People often leave honest reviews for their rental communities during their stay or after they move out.
You could find out about recurring problems that residents dealt with for years and avoid them yourself. Reviews could include issues like cockroaches, poor customer service from the maintenance team or security concerns.
Be aware that some rental communities offer rewards programs for residents if they leave glowing reviews.
In exchange, they may receive gift cards or free goodie bags. Look for trends with each review to learn what’s true and what’s from a singular disgruntled renter.
5. Schedule a Tour
Rental communities almost always have a unit decorated and ready for tours.
Ask if you can take a walk-through so you can get a close-up of the building. Watch for signs of water rot along the roof or neglected pavement problems.
The showcase unit will look great because the management team wants it to impress visitors. Still, you might spot the oval shape of bed bugs from other units or the smear of cockroach waste on the walls.
If the building isn’t to your liking, the apartments likely won’t be either.
6. Moving Your Belongings
Saving up for your first month’s rent and security deposit won’t be enough to move your belongings. You may have to pay for a team with a moving van if you have heavy furniture or don’t know anyone with a truck.
People with a one-bedroom apartment pay an average of $500 for a professional team, but that cost will skyrocket if you’re moving out of state.
Additionally, you’ll need money to buy moving boxes, packing tape and other materials like bubble wrap. They start at affordable prices, but they add up quickly with each run to the store.
7. Your Future Plans
Committing to a lease means you have to predict the next six to 12 months of your life. Is there any chance you might get married, have a child or adopt a pet? Those milestones often require moving to a larger living space.
If you can’t get out of your lease, it will put a cramp on your big plans. Reevaluate what you want from your near future to determine the best length for your next lease.
8. The Lease Length
The lease length also changes what you’ll pay in rent. A short-term lease for three to six months will cost significantly more than the average 13-month lease.
The landlord has to flip and prepare the apartment for the next renter after you leave, which takes considerable time and expenses away from their ongoing budget or maintenance schedule.
Shorter leases may also charge a higher security deposit and first month’s rent. Consider if the time crunch is necessary or if you should save a chunk of change by extending the lease to twelve or thirteen months. If a life-altering event occurs and you need to break your lease, it will have a section that explains the required fees for leaving before your move-out date.
Things to Consider Before Moving Apartments
There are plenty of things you should consider before buying your next apartment, but these are some of the most important.
Everyone deserves a place that’s in a pleasant community, close to their daily obligations and safe for their health and wellness. If you can find a rental complex that checks all of those boxes, you’ve likely discovered your next home.