Nearly one in five Texans are currently renting the home they live in. Even though finding a rental apartment is clearly a common, everyday occurrence, this process can still be a bit stressful and tiring for many individuals. Especially if you are renting for the first time, this experience can often feel intimidating when you aren’t familiar with all the ins and outs of renting just yet. Thankfully, renting your first apartment doesn’t have to be quite so overwhelming, as long as you follow these helpful tips for renting in Texas:
Begin by establishing your budget
Before you go shopping for apartments, it’s crucial to establish your current budget, in order to figure out exactly how much you could afford to spend. Start by writing down your income and seeing how much is left after paying your current bills and other necessary expenses. Then, attempt to factor in important aspects such as potential rent, future apartment costs, and daily life necessities. Calculating the approximate amount you could realistically spend on an apartment will help you narrow down your search, especially in terms of apartment size and neighborhood. If you’re uncertain of your finances, spending around 25% of your income on housing is a good rule of thumb.
Consider the length of the lease
Mostly due to fear of commitment, many new renters decide to sign shorter leases when they find their first apartment. However, this might not be the right choice for everyone, as shorter leases nearly always come with higher rental rates. Not only will longer lease terms often come with better deals, but you might also be able to get free rent in some communities if you sign a lease longer than 12 months, not to mention you will be avoiding the hassle of frequent moves. And as rates are steadily increasing in Texas, particularly in cities like Houston and Dallas, signing a longer lease will also give you more housing security.
Choose a suitable location
When searching for your first apartment, location will be one of the most important aspects. Proximity to your school or work, public transport options, available amenities, as well as the safety of the neighborhood will all allow you to determine the most suitable location for your personal needs and preferences. If you’re looking for the best apartments for rent in Lubbock, for instance, the right option might be even simpler to find. Whether you decide on the city center or more remote neighborhoods, you can find beautiful apartment complexes in every part of the city, most of which will offer additional amenities such as pools, business centers, and fitness centers as well.
Prepare documents in advance
Rental applications can sometimes be a bit stressful and time-consuming, especially if you’re competing with other prospective tenants for a good apartment. To relieve some of that stress, it might be a good idea to prepare all the necessary documents before meeting with the landlord. This includes papers like letters of reference, bank statements, credit checks, past pay stubs, or even a short bio that will allow them to get to know you a bit better. After all, landlords need to know you are a responsible tenant, not only in terms of payments and promptness, but also apartment maintenance and respect towards your neighbors.
Carefully review your lease
Once you’ve found your ideal apartment, a lease will be the most important document you will have to sign. For that reason, it’s crucial to read it thoroughly and carefully, and fully understand all the terms and conditions listed in the document. In case you don’t understand something, you can always ask an on-site agent for clarification, or you can bring a trusted person with you to review the lease as well. As this document details all the terms under which you agree to rent an apartment, it’s incredibly important to understand your lease completely before putting your signature on the dotted line.
Know your rights as a renter
It always pays to be informed as a renter. Knowing your rights will allow you to be fully prepared in case of issues, disputes, or other unfavorable situations with your apartment, which can be especially important for first-time tenants who aren’t quite familiar with the process yet. In Texas, you can find all relevant information regarding your rights as a renter on the attorney general website. Aside from your own rights, it would also be wise to get familiar with the apartment community policies, as they will go into more detail regarding your responsibilities as a tenant, as well as other rules and repercussions in case of certain issues.
Finding a great apartment for rent is always a challenging task, but it can be especially daunting if you’re renting for the first time. Fortunately, the entire experience can be a bit easier to handle, as long as you stay informed and follow the helpful tips mentioned above.