1. Talk to people and asking them about the places they have lived and how they liked it. Ask them about the building management and the quality of appliances. Also, search online through Apartments.com or Loftsmart.com to get a list of places that fit the budget and all other criteria you are looking for - and read reviews.
2. Go through the list and tour these places either in person or online to make sure you like it. Make sure to ask questions as far as utilities included, cable, internet, how the maintenance team is, when rent is due, how deposits are returned, furnished or unfurnished and if pets are allowed.
3. Once you narrow it down to one, you will submit a Renter’s Application. This is the step before a lease - it is NOT a legally binding contract, but some places do charge an Application Fee. When applying, be prepared with the documents you will need, including, but not limited to: identification, income verification, credit report, bank account info, rental history, guarantor info, and references.
4. If you have any special terms, make sure you negotiate them with the place before signing the lease. You may be able to negotiate something like direct deposit paid over a few months instead of all at once. Make sure anything you negotiate is in writing before you sign anything!
5. Read through the lease carefully to make sure you understand everything as this is a legally binding contract you stuck with until the expiration date. Ask questions if you are unsure if anything. You should feel empowered to ask for everything you need from the next place you call home.
6. Have your checkbook ready as most places prefer a check for a security deposit, first months rent, or other fees when signing the lease.
If you follow these steps or just stay aware of them, it should make the process of signing a lease pretty easy. Never feel pressured to sign until you are 100% confident!
LoftSmart's always here to not only help you find the most sought-after places in your College Town, but we're also here to help you find the perfect place to live next year.