Get a Budget
Before anything else, you need to set a budget for yourself. The rule of thumb here is not to go over 30 percent of your total monthly income. You need to focus the search according to your affordable budget and if you are forced to make some sort of compromise you really need to make sure that it is going to be worth spending the extra money.
You can save yourself some money if you avoid using a letting service. You can do this by utilizing the classifieds in your local newspaper, check out flat hunting publications, go to your local college campus and check out their bulletin boards or look online. You should also tell your family members and friends that you are in the market for an apartment and they might be able to give you some leads.
Fill Out the Application
Most landlords want to make sure that you are reliable and that you pay your bills on time and they generally will require that you fill out an application and pay an application fee so that they can run a credit check on you. Because of this, you actually will need something similar to a job resume, but only this will be a renter's resume. You will need personal references, a list of all your previous addresses with the phone numbers of previous landlords, your income.
Make sure that you know what is included with the rent. Find out if it includes the water, heating, electricity, garbage removal, cable and so on. What is really important is finding out what the average utility bills might be for the building you are considering.
It is important that you ask for a copy of any and all rules and regulations that are set down by the landlord and go through every single detail prior to signing any lease. Some important things to look for are:
- Check for the beginning and the expiration date of the lease.
- Make sure the rental price and security deposit is listed on the lease.
- Reasons the landlord can end your lease.
- What penalties if any, are there for moving out before the expiration date.
- Are you responsible for repairs?
- Do they allow subletting?
- What is the policy on pets and visitors?
Do a Thorough Inspection
Inspect the flat. Check the pipes and look for leaks. Look at faucets and shower heads and make sure there's decent pressure and make sure the toilet flushes correctly. Make sure that all the appliances work properly. Check windows to see if they open and close correctly. Also keep an eye open for bugs such as ants and roaches.
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