Now that you’ve graduated from your dorm days, the only barrier between you and your new pad is your John Hancock on a new lease.
House vs. Apartment
Perhaps the most difficult task in obtaining a lease is deciding whether your heart is set on renting an apartment or going all out on a house. Decide between having a whole house to party in or an apartment with an abundance of amenities like a pool, gym or free cookies in the clubhouse lobby.
Once you’ve decided between a house or an apartment for rent, it’s time to hunt down your new home. In today’s internet age, searching for properties has never been easier. Celeste Colvin, sales consultant and property manager, suggests using online resources, realtors who also function as leasing agents and word-of-mouth. It’s best to poll your friends and avoid the places where your buddies cuddled with the roaches at night or had to put in multiple maintenance requests every week.
If you use the internet to narrow down your options, make sure you visit your top properties in person to see what you’re really signing yourself up for. It’s also important to meet the management, whether it’s staff in the clubhouse or your prospective landlord. If you find yourself in a shouting match on your first meet-up, it’s best to move on to the next option.
“You’re not just getting a home, but you’re looking for an owner or a responsible agent who’s going to take care of you and your needs,” Colvin says.
Weigh pros and cons and pick a victor
Now that you’ve seen your future apartments or houses in person, you’ll have to decide which home is right for you. Choose between the expensive house that comes with a garage to protect your car from Oklahoma’s bipolar weather or the more affordable yet barren apartment lacking any kind of furniture.
Look over lease
After selecting the home or apartment you’re satisfied with living in for the next year or so, it’s time to take a look at its lease. Whether the lease is one page long or 15, make sure you look it over before signing your name on the dotted line. If you come across something that makes you feel like you’re about to strike a deal with the devil, ask questions and try to negotiate with your landlord. If he or she just won’t budge, decide whether living with the consequences is really worth it. If not, backtrack to your second favorite option.
Sign lease and Move In
Once the terms of your lease are settled, it’s time to pull out the magic pen and sign your life and wallet over to your new landlord for the next semester or two. Now all that’s left is to move in on the date you’ve agreed to with your landlord. Time to pack up the car and unload all those boxes.