Tips for First Time Renters
Reprinted with permission from Apartments.com
So you’ve made up your mind, and you’re going to do it, you’re finally going to move into your first St Paul apartment home. You’ve been dreaming of this moment for all your life. You know exactly what furniture you want, what color the walls are going to be, all the details about your first major party but WAIT! Before you get too comfortable with your new-found freedom, beware. This is real life and a couple of late rent payments can damage your credit significantly. Have a huge party and the police WILL come. Make sure that your first experience out on your own is a good one and take a listen to a little advice from, perhaps, some folks who’ve learned the hard way.
Tip #1 – Budget wisely.
Experts suggest, when you’re looking for apartments for rent in Minneapolis, the rent should be no more than 25-30% of your annual wages. Although you might fall in love with that two bedroom luxury apartment in the downtown high rise, you’re probably not going to be able to afford it. An eviction will mar your credit report and will be seen as a big black “X” to other potential landlords. Take a look at your income after taxes and subtract your expenses. Include food, household supplies, phone, cell, car payment, car insurance, parking fees, credit card bills, clothing, cleaners, gas, internet, healthcare, school loans, and entertainment. What you have left, is what you will be able to afford for your new place. Keep in mind that this total will need to include rent as well as any additional services, such as natural gas, water, electricity, cable and garbage pickup if it is not included in your rent. Make sure to ask your landlord to put in writing what is covered in your rent and what is not.
Tip #2 – Think about the deposits.
Not only will you need to afford a deposit on the apartment itself but you might also need to pay a fee to have your electricity turned on, phone hooked up, cable started, etc. The security deposit is most often equal to one month’s rent and the other deposits will range anywhere from $25 to $100. If you’re moving in the middle of the month (not recommended) you may have to pay for the remainder of that month’s rent as well as your first full month’s rent before you’re allowed to move in. Again, make sure that you plan ahead of time BEFORE you sign the lease and move in.
Tip #3 – Use credit cards in moderation.
Let’s face it, we’ve heard hundreds and hundreds of times from hundreds and hundreds of people that we should just take all our credit cards and shred them. Nothing good can come from having them around. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend the money. WRONG! Having credit cards and paying off your debt in a reasonable amount of time will only strengthen your credit report. In order to establish credit, you need to have credit. We need to be real here, there are times in everyone’s life when you need, and I mean, NEED, a credit card. Don’t worry about using it. Don’t feel the guilt. But, don’t be careless either. When you use credit cards, make sure that you pay your debt down and avoid carrying a balance for over three months. Rather than depending on your credit card as a way to make ends meet every month, know that it is there in the case of an emergency (or if you just NEED to have that new pair of shoes).