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Are you getting ready to move into your first apartment? Renting your first place is a big and exciting step. You’ll need to be financially responsible to pay rent each month and take good care of someone else’s property. The All Jersey Moving & Storage team has helped thousands of first time renters move into their first apartments. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot about what first time renters need to know to have a positive rental experience. This article outlines tips and essential steps to help first time renters prepare to successfully rent their first apartment.
Calculate your expenses. Before signing a lease, make sure you have considered your future expenses. You don’t want to end up in a position where your budget was unrealistic and you’re unable to meet your financial obligations. Be sure to consider all the bills you will incur in your new apartment, including utilities, internet, food, cleaning supplies, basic toiletries, transportation, etc. It's also a good idea to make sure you have at least two months' rent saved in case, in case you have a lot of unexpected expenses one month or you lose your job unexpectedly.
Consider your furniture. Unless you’re planning on furnishing your apartment with new furniture, make sure your apartment can accommodate your existing furniture. Measure large pieces of furniture to ensure they fit the space and can be transported into the apartment building (including in the elevator or stairwell and through the doorway). Be mindful that some buildings, especially older ones, have very narrow doorways. You don’t want to discover on moving day that you’ve paid to move a large piece of furniture that can’t even fit through the door! If you have furniture that doesn’t fit your apartment, considering selling bulky pieces and replacing them with city-sized furnishings.
Visit more than once. Before leasing an apartment for a long-term tenancy, visit at different times and on different days if possible. Pay attention to noise levels, traffic (especially around rush hour), opening times of local shops and eateries, etc. You will want to know how certain things fluctuate, such as noise levels during the day versus in the evening. If you can’t visit, try to ask neighbors questions to give you a fuller picture of what to expect.
Consider the ramifications of parking. If you have a car and your apartment doesn’t come with a parking spot, make sure you’ve thought through your decision. Will you be able to find a nearby parking spot easily after work? What about after running errands, such as grocery shopping? These are important considerations, especially if the apartment is situated in an area with limited spots available, bad weather, etc.
Research your management company. When it comes to rentals, the owner of the property matters as much as the quality of the apartment itself. It’s important to research your potential management company or landlord. Look out for any complaints that may have been made about them online. You can even search public records to see if there have been any housing violations at the property. You want to find a management company or landlord that will resolve issues you bring to them and take complaints seriously.
Read your lease carefully. Before you sign your lease, read it very carefully and become educated about your rights as a tenant. A good source of information about laws in your city or state is local legal aid agencies. They may be able to advise you as to what resources are available should your tenant rights be violated by your landlord. It is important to learn what your landlord or management company is required to fix as well as how much noticed your landlord must give prior to terminating your lease or raising your rent. A careful review of your lease will help you avoid a landlord who wants unfettered access to your property or an absentee landlord who lives oversees (who may be difficult to contact or who may not address issues in a timely fashion).
Consider negotiating. If something in the contract doesn’t sit well with you, consider negotiating with your landlord or management company. For instance, if a monthly parking fee seems unreasonable or you feel the deposit being requested is too hefty, negotiate these points. Once you have reached an agreement, do not sign a contract until the negotiated change is reflected in an amended contract – and be sure to keep a copy of it in your files.
Get renter’s insurance! You can’t predict what might happen when you move into a new apartment. Renter’s insurance protects you from theft and break-ins as well as fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Your landlord’s insurance may cover the building structure itself, but not your furniture or belongings. With renter’s insurance in place, you can often replace items damaged by water, theft, or flood. In events where injuries occurred inside the home, renter’s insurance may also help cover the cost of medical bills in certain cases. Renters' insurance also covers you if you're sued by someone who claims to have been injured in your rental due to your carelessness. Renters' insurance typically costs $350 a year for a $50,000 policy that covers loss due to theft or damage caused by other people or natural disasters.
Take photos of everything! Part of the process of renting an apartment is paying a security deposit. To get your security deposit back when your lease ends, it’s important to inspect the property carefully and document any pre-existing damage to the apartment. Be sure to take photographs of everything prior to moving in – walls, ceilings, doors, floors, appliances, outlets, etc. and save these photographs for the duration of your tenancy. Send photos of any damage you notice to your landlord or management company.
Another important thing to do is ask your landlord for a move in/move out checklist which clearly lists which features your landlord will examine before you move in and after you move out to assess damage done to the property. By informing the landlord exactly what, if any, damage there is to the property before you move in, you ensure you won’t be held responsible for any damage for which you were not responsible.
Request reasonable repairs. Living in a rental, you are bound to encounter maintenance issues. If something needs repair, don’t delay communicating the issue with your landlord or maintenance company. Rather, as soon as you are aware something in your apartment has broken or become damaged, such as a heater or toilet, let your landlord know immediately. Usually, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to pay for repairs. However, you might have to organize for a repairperson to come to your property. Once the issue has been resolved, be sure to let your landlord know.
Hire professional movers experienced with apartment moving. Once you’ve found an apartment and signed a lease, research professional moving companies experienced with apartment moving. Some first time apartment renters may consider a DIY move, but the risks usually far outweigh the benefits. DIY moves are utterly exhausting, often take much longer than expected to execute, can result in costly damage to your belongings and put you and whoever you convince to assist you at risk of moving-related injuries. Make sure the company is well rated and, importantly, that they are licensed and insured. Professional movers have the experience, knowledge, and equipment necessary to execute your apartment move safely and efficiently. With the right moving team, you won’t have to worry about damage to your belongings or furniture.
Don’t delay packing. The first step of packing is to sort through your belongings, which can be a daunting task. Try to start this process at least a month before moving day. Begin by sorting your belongings in the following categories – “keep”, “throw away”, “donate”, “give to friends and family” and “sell”. If you plan to sell any of your belongings, give yourself enough time to hold out for reasonable bids. Items can be sold on online marketplaces or at a yard sale. You may also wish to donate belongings in usable condition to organizations that will pass them along to individuals and families in need. There may be a non-profit organization in your neighborhood that will conveniently pick up furniture and other belongings for donation from your home. If there are items of monetary or sentimental value that you cannot take with you to your new apartment, consider placing them in a storage facility.
Once you have sorted through your belongings, ensure you have sufficient packing supplies. Begin packing your belongings room by room. Ensure you have a clear labelling system in place. Clearly label each box, noting its contents and what room the box is destined for. Taking the time to appropriately label your boxes will not only make moving day more efficient, it will also make the unpacking process much easier. If you don’t have the time or ability to pack and unpack, consider hiring your movers to assist you.
All Jersey Moving & Storage has helped thousands of individuals and families moves to new apartments in places like Hoboken, NYC, and Jersey City. We practically have it down to a science! We offer:
All Jersey Moving & Storage executes apartment moves of all sizes. This includes small apartment moves, such as one bedroom apartments and studio apartments. Our price structure reflects this. Many well established, professional moving companies only want to assist with big moves and don’t offer affordable prices for small apartment moves. Unaffordable rates steers customers toward DIY moving or finding a rogue, unlicensed mover.
All Jersey Moving & Storage employees understand that moving to a new apartment can be challenging. From parking problems to tackling flights of stairs, there are a myriad of factors to consider when it comes to apartment moving. All Jersey Moving & Storage can assist with everything from maneuvering your heavy furniture to planning the logistics for the move in places like Jersey City, Hoboken, and New York City. We are familiar with the unique rules and requirements of many residential high-rise buildings in the area.
Our knowledge and expertise help ensure that your move will run smoothly and on schedule. We use premium moving blankets, shrink wrap and cardboard to protect your belongings. Our top-of-the-line moving equipment protects your belongings from the moment we arrive at your apartment until your items are safely unloaded at your next destination.
Moving to a new apartment? Call us today for a complimentary quote.