Are you ready to move into a new apartment? Do you have a ballpark figure of what’s works best for your wallet? Finding a new apartment that fits your budget doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, with preparation and patience, you may end up finding the apartment you’ve always wanted. Using the Rent Affordability Calculator before you start your apartment search is the ideal way to show what you can afford to pay each month. 30% of your income is the universal best practice to calculate your apartment budget. To figure out how much 30% would be, take your combined annual revenue and divide it by 40. (This is just a shortcut for taking 30% of your income and then dividing it across 12 months.)
Let’s Say You Make $72,000 Per Year
$72,000 ÷ 40 = $1,800 per month
30% of $72,000 = $21,600; $21,600 ÷ 12 = $1,800
Please note that this calculator only provides suggested rents, and it does not take any personal expenses into consideration. Please choose your apartment with care.
How Much Rent Can I Afford?
The Rent Affordability Calculator can easily give you the amount that will work best for your income. Simply take your annual salary (before taxes or any deductions) and divide it by 40. This standard practice is generally what landlords use to determine if you can afford the rent.
Are Utilities Included?
When inquiring about an apartment, you will typically find out through the property description or the application process if an apartment has utilities included. Services like heat, electricity, gas or water could be incorporated into the price of the rent. Living in an apartment where your utilities are included can be a perk if you are not concerned with saving on bills and premium utility services. You will also need to keep in mind that if the landlord does not include all utilities in your rent that you will need to be responsible for the payment.
Are There Any Hidden Costs?
Apartments can include several additional expenses that can catch a new apartment hunter off guard if not prepared. Having a sound budget, a thorough plan, and room for unforeseen circumstances can make your rental journey an enjoyable experience. In this case, hidden cost can pile up in the form of “common charges” and change the excitement of getting your new place to a financial nightmare. Don’t let hidden fees blindside you. Be prepared with the list of hidden fees below.
- Application Fee
An application fee is charged when the property manager needs to run a credit check, background check or any administrative process required to qualify you for their apartment. This fee is usually nonrefundable and can range in price. Along with the application fee, you will want to be sure you are ready to give your renters resume, completed application, a form of I.D., landlord references and proof of income.
- Security Deposit
A security deposit is usually 1 or 2 months’ rent. This should be stated in the apartment description or when you inquire with the landlord. The earlier you know the deposit price, the easier it will be to move along with the renting process. The security deposit is used to cover any damages the property may receive during the tenant’s tenure. This is usually not a hidden fee, however knowing how much you need to pay to move in and how you can get your security deposit back when you move out should be a priority to you.
- Elevator fees
When moving to an upper-level property, you may have to pay to reserve the elevator. This fee is used for any damage the elevator may receive when moving out. The landlord may have an elevator reservation form for you to fill out that includes the block of time you can use the elevator and the price it will cost. Although prices can vary, this fee is one you should be aware of. On the brighter side, knowing the dimensions of the elevators rear, interior and clearance for the loading dock can work in your favor. Checking the size of your furniture before you move in and comparing that size to the dimensions of the elevator can make for a less painful moving experience.
- Parking fees
Parking fees are typical in managed properties. The cost could be associated with the parking spot available to you (or the lot), the parking sticker and also the parking permit. A parking space that is covered or an actual parking garage could run a fee as well. When looking for a place to rent consider the parking availability early. Also take into consideration the distance you will need to walk and if that distance is safe. A bad parking situation could result in an unpleasant renting experience so look into parking options as soon as you draw interest in a new apartment.
- Pet fees
Pet fees can range in price. However, you can expect a monthly fee or one-time deposit to move a pet in with you. The price could increase if more than one pet is moving in. The fee is to cover any wear and tear the pet may do to the rental.
- Broker fees
The desire to move to a big city can come with a hefty price. That’s why it is best to understand and prepare to pay the broker fee when moving into a new apartment found by a broker. This experience can make moving a lot easier (and more fun) but can come with a 15% fee of a year’s rent for which you are responsible for. Beware of scams and always read the contract in full before you sign up with a broker.
- Renters Insurance
Protecting your property by having insurance that covers the value of what you own is usually mandatory when moving into an apartment. Renters Insurance can range in price so when choosing be sure to understand which policy you want and how it can affect the contents of your apartment in the case of a disaster. This is a fee that may not be expensive but is an additional cost to consider.
- Moving Fees
When moving into your apartment consider who and how you are moving your items. The cost could creep up when using professional movers. You will need to look at how they handle individual items, how much experience they have and if they can move all of your contents at the best price in the quickest time. Hidden fees can occur for packing labor, value protection and handling bulky items. Moving Insurance should be available as an option, long carry, travel, extra stop, storage, moving and elevator fees are all cost to consider when using professional movers.
The amenities available on-site could charge an access fee. Like the fitness room, pool, conference room, business center, or sauna. High-end amenities are attractive to renters seeking the most bang for their buck. Competitively, managed apartments are currently competing for rental dollars that will attract loyal tenants. So be sure to enjoy the amenities of the apartment you choose to move to. After all, you are paying for them.
- Storage Unit Rentals
Paying an additional fee for storage rentals can be paid with a one-time deposit or monthly. The extra storage costs can range in price but are useful for placing seasonal items and additional furniture in to save on space.
If there is a laundry room on the premises, it is typical to have to pay to use the facilities. Usually, this is done by a coin-operated washer and dryer. Before moving in ask what is available in the laundry facilities. You may have to pay extra for not just the machines but also for detergent, baskets and other essential items that could be available in the facility.
- Maintenance Fee
This expense can be easy to overlook when moving into an apartment. This fee can include lawn care, outside pet cleaning and onsite trash pickup.
This may be an obvious payment however if you are moving into a place that has “some” utilities included you may need to keep track of the services you are responsible for. You are responsible for bills for these utilities, so it is important to stay on top of them and monitor any additional premiums that can occur.
- Home improvement fees
If you are given the green light to make further changes to your new living space than you will need to consider the cost of renovations and how that can play a significant role to you and your wallet. This long-term investment may come with additional maintenance that can cost a pretty penny in the long run. Worst case scenario is you have made all of the changes to customize your property to your liking, and then you move out, and the property manager wants the apartment back to its original look. Be sure to know and understand expectations before making substantial changes.
- Renewal fee
You should consider a renewal fee or an increase in rent when renewing your lease for your apartment. It may not happen in every case, but it is a fact to consider.
- Late Rental Payment
Some landlords may charge a late payment fee if you are a few days late. You will need to know if there is a grace period for payment and exactly how much the property manager may charge if the event does occur. The rental agreement should also state the if they do charge for late payment. Getting this cleared and out the way, before you move in would be ideal. Do your research to find out if the fee is reasonable and fair.
Will My Rent Ever Increase?
Unless the landlord is participating in a government program that dictates rental rates, the landlord in most cases can change rent as the market dictates. At lease renewal time a new contract between the landlord and tenant must be agreed on between both parties. This includes rent increase and terms and conditions. The landlord cannot make you stay, and if you want to stay you cannot decide the rent. If the parties do not agree with one another, then the tenant will leave at the end of the current lease term. The landlord is operating a business and needs to get the most rent possible as the landlords’ cost is increasing
Does My Credit Credit Determine My Rent?
Your credit score does not determine your rent. However, a high s core shows the property manager that you are capable of being responsible for your monthly rent. This score can affect your new living situation that is why it is best to be privy of your score and always do your best to keep it high. A bad score can disqualify you from renting.
Can I Rent After Bankruptcy?
Yes, with a bankruptcy you can still rent an apartment. It is critical to note that several factors play a part to the landlord. Those factors are the status of your case, how long ago the bankruptcy was filed, your current credit history and your rental or leasing resume. Having this information packaged together when interested in finding a new apartment will make this new transitional period in your life more manageable. Be sure to tell your story in its entirety to the landlord and also show proof of how you have made a bad situation like a bankruptcy (or whatever life changing event caused it) into a better situation. You can do this by showing a track record of responsibility and receipts that have proven you can handle rent and additional fees.
Will I Need To Find A Co-Signer?
A cosigner is required when your credit score is not where the creditor needs it to be. A cosigner with higher or better credit guarantees that the payment will be made along with adhering to the terms and conditions agreed. It is best to use someone that you trust and can easily communicate with. If issues arise and you are not able to make the needed payments, you will need to let your cosigner know and also the creditor. If the payments are not made within a certain time period (like 90 days), you can harm the cosigner’s credit and also your own.
If I Break The Lease Will I Have To Pay Anything?
If you break your lease you are usually responsible for paying up to 2 months’ rent or even the amount for the months that you are vacant. Sometimes it is possible to break your lease if you are in the military and must be deployed or need to move if you are injured or seriously ill and if the apartment is unlivable. If you are considering to break your lease first read over the rental agreement thoroughly. An opt-out clause should be available in the lease that will clearly explain what you are responsible for. If planned correctly, you can give 30 or 60-day notice to your property manager, and no charges will occur. In some cases, you may need to find a replacement renter to fill your space. The best step is to talk to your property manager and be honest about the sudden change in your living situation. The worst case is having a judgment on your credit report for breaking your lease. This can lower your credit score and can ultimately lead to rejection as it does show that you have broken an agreement and will need to pay the balance to get it taken off of your report.