Housing costs take up the largest portion of your budget, which means figuring out costs before you move is extremely important. Not only do you want to consider monthly rental payments, but you also have to content with utility bills and costs associated with the move itself. Here are some tips on finding the right rental price, as well as other costs you’ll want to consider to ensure your move goes off without a hitch.
What rental price is right for you?
Although there are likely a number of amenities and features you’re looking for in an apartment, the most important thing to consider is the rental price. Rent can vary widely between landlords, buildings, and units. Even the side of town you choose to live on can have a huge impact on rental prices. Professionals suggest using 30 percent of your total income to decide how much you can afford to spend on rent. This is a good place to start, but it’s important to be cautious.
Unfortunately, most people have to contend with debt, and lots of it. From car payments to medical bills and student loans, dedicating 30 percent of their total income to rental prices is impossible. Instead, add up all your other bills for the year and see what you have left over. That’ll give you an idea of whether you can follow the 30 percent guideline, or if you need to consider reducing what percentage of your income goes to rent.
Utilities and fees
After you find an apartment you like, and you’re confident you can pay the rental price, you need to consider the utilities and fees that are associated with that unit. Larger units will use more electricity, which means a larger bill. How well a unit is insulated and maintained can also have a huge effect on the monthly bills. If you want a better idea of how much it costs to live in the unit, contact the utility company and ask them for an average cost of a monthly bill at that residence.
Make sure you discuss which utilities you’re responsible for paying, and which utilities are included in the rental price. For example, some rental properties include the price of water and waste pickup in the rental price, but some don’t.
Don’t forget about pesky fees! There are a number of fees associated with renting an apartment for the first time. They include application fees, a security deposit, first month’s rent in advance, and some companies will even request a utility deposit. If you have a pet, you’ll likely also be expected to pay a pet deposit. Make sure you have all the fees ironed out before you commit to moving in. Just because you can afford the monthly rent doesn’t mean you have the money to move it!
When you finally find a place with a rental price that’s within your budget, and you are confident that you can afford the utility bills and additional fees, you next have to consider moving costs. If you’re looking to move on a dime, you can find old cardboard boxes and do the majority of the move on your own for little to no money. However, this takes time that some movers simply don’t have.
If you have a lot of stuff, or if you simply can’t handle the move on your own, you’ll need to ask for help. You can assemble friends and family members to help, but you’ll want to budget some money as a thank you in the form of dinner, gift cards, or even beer. Professional movers are also available. They will make sure your move is completed swiftly, but they are likely to cost quite a bit of money.
Getting a handle on your finances is important when it comes to finding an apartment with fees and a rental price you can afford. With a little planning, you can find a dream apartment that fits well within your monthly budget.