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6 Essential Tips for Finding a New Place

May is National Moving Month, and many are getting close to ending their current lease and possibly on the hunt for a new apartment which better suits their needs. As much as we all love finding the place we’ve dreamed of, apartment hunting is not for the faint of heart. It takes patience, preparation, and skill to locate just the right home for yourself & your family.

There are many things to consider when searching for that dream home, so we have created the below suggestions to help assist you in making those final decisions.

1. Know your current lease terms

Understanding the terms of your current lease is the first step prior to even beginning the search for a new place. Having clear knowledge of all details regarding moving out is important to ensure you do not incur additional fees nor violate the current agreement. Some common factors to check are:

· Lease End date

· Move-out requirements (Inspection)

· How to receive Refundable deposits

2. Calculate your budget

Most rental properties require that your gross income is two- and one-half times the monthly rent. For example, if the rent is $750/month, your monthly income would need to be at least $1,825. Remember to estimate the cost of utilities, renter’s insurance, and one-time fees such as a security deposit or application processing. Having a solid budget and sticking to it will prevent you from moving to a place that you may later find yourself being unable to afford.

3. Where to search?

With the ever-changing times, we are far from the days where you could grab a free guide that was full of local apartments color coded by location, with nice model photos and easy access to price details. Is Craigslist still okay to use? How do I know which information is current? It’s hard to know where to search and which site is trustworthy. Below is a list of commonly used websites for apartment hunting. Check-in with your family, friends, & extended network also. Word of mouth has always been a great tool for finding affordable rentals that may not be widely advertised.

4. Create a list before (Take notes during to review after)

Take the time to think about what you really want to be most comfortable and feel at home. Write a list of what amenities you must have, what things are non-negotiable, and questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is where you may potentially spend 60% of your time. Click here to view an example: Renter’s Checklist to bring on walkthroughs and visits. Another key is to take notes. Once you are ready to review the rentals, your notes help you recall bits of information that stood out in the moment and are great for comparing pros & cons.

5. Have your documents ready

After a viewing, if you’re interested, ask the landlord or property manager what is needed to apply. Normally, there is an application fee. You will always need proof of your identity and recent paystubs. The number of paystubs needed varies. Preparing these documents in advance helps so that you can quickly apply to a place when you want to snag it.

1. Lastly, before you sign, Read the entire lease

As with the first step, you want to carefully review the lease, and this includes the fine print. Thoroughly reading the lease will help you avoid pitfalls in the future. Your lease is a legally binding agreement so ensuring that you understand it is highly important.

Here are just a few items to investigate:

· Lease term (When will it renew?)

· Rent due date & Late fees

· What fees are being paid and which are refundable

· What happens if you break the agreement/lease terms?

· Fines/Additional fees that may incur

· Contact Details (Landlord info/Maintenance request)

Locating the perfect apartment may take a lot of time and effort but being sure about your next move beats the cost of dealing with housing setbacks. Here at JumpStart, we seek to assist our clients with meeting their daily needs by being proactive and engaging. We offer our JSU 101 course which provides excellent information to help clients understand the details of their lease and how to maintain their new rental property. If you are looking to rent a new place of residence (apartment or house), learning more about JSU 101, creating a budget, or any of the above tips, feel free to email us at or give us a call at (804) 835-6492 ext. 129.

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