Renting may seem like a daunting task but it can be a very simple process if you prepare yourself properly and go into it knowing what you want and understanding what you need. We've put together a few basic tips to make life just a little bit easier when you're planning to rent.
1. When looking at different apartments that currently have tenants try to ignore their setup and furniture and envision the space as empty or with your things. Believe it or not, some tenants are messy and have a lot of clutter. It can be very deceiving and misleading when you are at a showing and there are tacky posters and dirty dishes out. Just try to remember that once you move in it's a clean slate for all of your things and you can organize however you want. Look past the current tenant's choice of decor and just consider the space, look at the windows, the ceilings, the walls, the counter space, and the amenities as you view apartments.
2. Ask about what changes you are allowed to make to the space. Some landlords and owners are very lenient on what you can do to your apartment in terms of painting and decorating but others are a bit more strict. Always remember to check with your landlord regarding what changes you're allowed to make yourself while renting. Be careful about nailing pictures up or making any more permanent changes like rugs and carpets. Chances are the rules will be clearly defined for you, but be sure to know them and understand them.
3. Generate a list of absolute necessities for your apartment. Maybe you need a washer and dryer in unit, or absolutely must have 2 bedrooms, it could be that you require a large kitchen, or you're looking for a particular type of appliance, whatever it might be put it on the list. However, as you make this list, understand that it may change. Are you looking for your dream home right now, or this just a temporary fix? Go on a few showings after you've built your list, then after seeing a few places look over your list again and decide what you may be able to live without, or maybe you have a new thing to add to the list. Just keep in mind that this list may change with time and more showings but try to remain realistic about your expectations and know that sometimes you may have to sacrifice one thing for another.
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There really is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when making a big decision like where you plan to live for the next few years. Put together a list of questions or even Google a few frequently asked questions so you can be aware of what you should be asking. You want to make sure you'll be happy in your new place and asking questions is the only way to get direct answers.
5. Don't hesitate once you've found a place you like. Once you've gone through your lists and asked your questions don't be afraid to jump right on a place. Everyone else who is looking to rent has the same mentality, so places go quickly. Especially in a market like Boston's where students and young professionals are a large percentage of the population. Once you know what you're looking for you'll find the right place, but you can't let it slip away, because chances are someone else thinks it is the right place for them too.
6. Once you've settled on a place take some time and visit the area and get to know it. You're excited to move in and enjoy your new place but what will make it even more enjoyable is knowing where the nearest grocery store is and where you can find you Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. Just get familiar with everything before your make the physical move, it will make life a lot easier once you're in the midst of packing and unpacking.
Let us know what tips you've learned from renting!