Content of the material
- 1. Determine Your Budget
- Use Space-Saving Furniture
- 12. Budget for All Upfront Costs
- Pick Up a Little Each Day
- How To Account for Living Expenses
- Security Deposits
- Renter’s Insurance
- Utility Deposits
- Administration Fees
- Can border collies live in apartments?
- Why are apartments better than houses?
- 1. Low maintenance
- 2. Apartments are cheaper to rent than houses
- A. Buying a house
- B. Renting an apartment
- 3. A flexible option
- 4. Better locations
- 5. More amenities
- 6. It is easier to save
- 7. Apartments are more secure
- 8. Fewer property worries
- 9. Some apartments are already furnished
- Legal Disclaimer
1. Determine Your Budget
It’s common for a first time apartment renter to overestimate how much they can spend on rent and other necessities. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. This isn’t always possible in expensive cities like New York, Boston, or San Francisco, but you should do your best to keep your housing expenses to 30% or under. Teaming up with a roommate or creating an income-generating side hustle can help offset your living expenses.
A rent calculator can help give you a better idea of what you can and can’t afford. Plug in your location, desired number of bedrooms, and your monthly gross income and the rent calculator will do the rest. We’ll provide you with a recommended rent figure and apartment options in your area that fits your budget.
Learn more about what you should include on your first apartment budgeting checklist.
Use Space-Saving Furniture
Photo via @calclosetsnashville
Space-saving furniture and home decor with hidden storage can create more room in your small studio apartment and reduce visual clutter. With furniture like pull-out desks, stackable chairs, storage ottomans, and Murphy beds, you can maximize space in your studio apartment and make living with a roommate easier.
12. Budget for All Upfront Costs
A first time apartment renter doesn’t always realize the extent of the upfront costs involved. You’ll need to budget for a security deposit, first and last months’ rent, and an apartment application fee. If you’re moving in with a pet, this could also include a pet deposit or pet fee, as well as first and last months’ pet rent. Make sure to study your lease regarding the terms to getting your security deposit back, as well as any conditions for reimbursements.
Need more help figuring out how to rent your first apartment? Learn more about hidden rental costs and how much an apartment really costs.
Pick Up a Little Each Day
Photo via @ausnuance
Small spaces are prone to clutter. Keep surfaces clear and items organized by taking a few minutes each day to pick up. Doing a quick sweep through communal spaces like the kitchen and living room will help keep those areas clean.
How To Account for Living Expenses
Finding an apartment that includes utilities in the rent can simplify your budget; However, this option isn’t always available. If utilities such as gas, electric, and water are not included in the rent, you will need to factor them, along with other common living expenses such as renter’s insurance, into your apartment budget as follows:
- Rent: This amount should stay the same each month for the duration of your rental contract unless you get a monthly rental agreement, which is not binding but also doesn’t prevent rent increases. In addition, most rental agreements require at least one to two months of a security deposit, so be sure to account for that, as well.
- Electric:Tenants typically pay for this utility.Because you’re in an apartment, your electricity bill should be fairly small each month. If you miss any payments, the utility company can turn off your electricity until all fees have been paid.
- Natural Gas: Gas is often paid by the landlord and is not typically expensive. However, if you are responsible for this utility, make sure you are able to make the monthly payments, as the utility company can easily turn off your heat and hot water for money owed.
- Water:Landlords also often pay your water bill. However, in certain cases, you may need to pay for this utility and want to be sure you can make the monthly payments.
- Internet and Cable: You’ll be responsible for this charge, and you may be able to get a bundled service from your cable or cell phone provider at a lower rate. Depending on your apartment complex, you may have to pay an installation fee. Make sure to inquire about this fee when shopping for a provider. In addition, cable may be optional if you don’t watch much television. Consider streaming services as a cheaper option, should you not watch cable that often.
- Renter’s Insurance: This covers all of your belongings in your apartment in case of theft or certain types of damage, and is usually fairly low-cost. You can cut the cost even more by bundling this insurance with your car insurance coverage, if you have a vehicle. You may also be able to get multiple quotes for renter’s insurance to compare costs.
Also be aware of these common fees that many apartment complexes and landlords charge:
- Pet fees
- Garbage pickup
- Pest control
- Administration fees
Not all apartments come with these fees, however, it’s a good rule to ask if they do. Some fees could occur on a monthly basis, while others may be a one-time charge.
You might find you can afford the monthly rent without an issue, but the upfront costs to move, such as security deposits, renter’s insurance, and administration fees, seem overwhelming. To get a realistic picture of what you can actually afford and to avoid any surprise charges, you should also include these expenses in your budget.
In addition to paying the first month’s rent, you will likely need to pay a minimum of one month’s rent as a security deposit. If you use a broker, you might have to pay them another month’s rent as a fee. For example, if you rent an apartment that costs $1,000 per month and you use a broker, you would have to pay $3,000 upfront. Even without a broker, you would need to pay $2,000 upon moving into your apartment.
Some places may give you a break on the security deposit. Instead of a traditional deposit where you get your deposit back as long as there’s no damage, you might be offered a non-refundable deposit for a much smaller amount, like $175.
Unfortunately, if there are damages to the apartment that exceed that amount, you may be on the hook for those at the end of your lease. If you agree to this non-refundable option, make sure you save a little money each month in case you are charged an additional fee at the end of your lease.
If you have pets, you might also have to pay a deposit for them. This amount is typically much smaller than the monthly rent, but it should be included in your budget.
Many management companies require that you have proof of insurance before you move, and it’s a good idea to insure your belongings regardless. Renter’s insurance is usually $10 to $20 a month, depending on the area you live in and your type of apartment. Again, if you have a car, ask your car insurer if they offer this coverage, as you might get a bundle discount.
Some landlords require that utilities be in the tenant’s name. Therefore, you may have to pay a deposit for service, especially if this is your first time paying utilities. Deposits can range from $70 to $150, but as long as you pay your utilities on time, you should receive a refund. You may have to wait a few months to a year. If you continue service with these utility companies elsewhere, you can expect to receive a credit on your statement instead of a payment.
If you want to apply for an apartment, the management company will likely need to run your credit and conduct a background check before it’s time for you to move in. You typically have to pay an administration fee for this service of approximately $100, although some companies will waive the fee if they’re offering a special.
Can border collies live in apartments?
Let me rephrase the question for you because the answer comes down to you.
Can you spend the time and energy it takes to give your border collie the attention they need to live happily in an apartment?
When it comes down to it, the answer is, of course, border collies can live in apartments. They can live anywhere as long as they meet their daily needs.
But living life and living a happy life are different things.
So, are you willing to go out of your way to provide them with what they need to live their best life?
Then yes they can live in apartments. Otherwise, probably not.
Why are apartments better than houses?
Take a look at some of the reasons why moving into an apartment is in your better interests compared to a house.
1. Low maintenance
One of the biggest perks about renting an apartment is that the property does not belong to you, and ensuring it is in top shape is not your responsibility. Owning a house means that any damages are yours to fix and depending on how serious the problem is, it might cost a big buck whether you are doing the repairs yourself or hiring someone else to do them.
Living in an apartment means anytime your dishwasher is faulty, your roof is leaking, or you have any other maintenance problem, all you have to do is get in touch with your building manager, who will ensure the issue is resolved. You will only incur repair costs if the damage is a result of negligence on your end.
One other maintenance perk you will enjoy is that you won’t have to shovel snow from the driveway and sidewalk during winter.
2. Apartments are cheaper to rent than houses
The term expensive is relative from person to person so for better understanding, let us look at the costs associated with buying a house vis a vis the costs of renting an apartment.
A. Buying a house
Here are some of the things that you will need to pay for as you buy a house:
- Down payment. This is a portion of the total cost of the house that you pay upfront before the house is fully yours. There are a couple of factors that determine what percentage this will be, but it typically ranges between 3 to 20% of the house’s value.
- Earnest deposit. After giving your down payment, you have to make another deposit that shows you are serious about getting the house. This amount is usually up to 3% of the house’s value.
- Appraisal. If you intend to take a mortgage to help pay for the house, the lender will need to perform a home appraisal to ensure that the property’s value is in line with the amount of money you are asking for. Some of the things looked at are the house size, the interior and exterior, and any extra features. This will cost you anywhere between $300 and $400.
- Home inspection. Unlike an appraisal, the inspection is meant to help you spot any problems that the house might have or issues that may arise as you live in the house. Some of these problems might not catch your eye, considering you haven’t much experience in dealing with houses. An inspection costs roughly as much as an appraisal.
- Property tax. Owning property will require you to pay taxes per your state and county laws. This tax is paid when you buy the property and every year after that.
- Homeowner’s insurance. You need to insure your home to ensure you have a safety net in case of a fire, robbery, or other incidents. How much your insurance will cost depends on your location, your credit score, the house value, among other factors. Just like property tax, the first amount is paid on acquiring the house and annually after that.
- Some closing costs come with buying a house. These include a closing fee, loan origination costs, title insurance, and others. Normally this amount totals to 3% of the house value.
- Once you own the house, you need to make monthly mortgage payments until they are complete. Other payments you need to take care of are the utilities. These include cooking gas, electricity, water, internet, recycling, and garbage.
- Since you are the homeowner, you are now in charge of maintenance and repairs around the house. Proper maintenance ensures that the value of your house does not depreciate over time.
B. Renting an apartment
If you choose to rent an apartment, you will incur fewer initial payments compared to buying a house. However, most of your expenses will recur monthly. Here are some of the costs of renting an apartment.
- Security deposit. This is the amount of money paid to the building manager when you sign the lease. If you decide to move out, the security deposit will cover any damages you might have caused to the unit. Also, if you are behind on rent or you break the lease, your deposit goes towards that. For most apartments, this amount is usually 1.5 times the rent. Compared to all the initial payments you have to make before you own a house, this is an easier fix.
- Rent. The rent is the monthly amount you pay for living in the apartment. This amount depends on a couple of factors, such as the size of the apartment, its location, the age of the property, and the market rates of the area you plan on renting in. If you have pets, you might be required to pay pet rent or a deposit that protects the unit from pet damage.
- Renter’s insurance. This amount is not as expensive as the homeowner’s insurance, but it serves the same purpose-to protect your belongings from theft, fires, or other accidents. Monthly, you will have to part with as little as $15 for the insurance. Compared to the approximately $100 paid monthly in insurance by homeowners, this is a cheaper alternative.
- Utilities. Costs like gas, electricity, and water are usually included in the rent for most apartment buildings but some exceptions may require you to cover them separately. This will depend on your building. Apartments are usually smaller than average houses so the cost of utilities is lower than it is in houses.
- Laundry. In most apartment buildings, the unit does not have a washer and dryer. This will require you to use the machines in the building or find a laundromat. The costs will depend on how you plan to do your laundry and how much you can afford to use.
If your credit score is in the average numbers and you don’t want to deal with the hefty upfront charges that come with buying a house, then an apartment is in your best interests.
3. A flexible option
If you consider yourself a wandering nomad, then an apartment is the perfect housing option for you. Living in an apartment gives you the freedom to move from house to house whenever you see fit.
Moving into an apartment requires that you sign a lease and as you do this, you can choose whether you want to sign for 3 months, 6 months, a year, or more. Apartment units are also usually smaller than houses. Having less space helps you live more minimally so when it comes to moving time, the relocation is easier since you have less stuff to move around.
If you live in a house, when the time comes to move you will have to put your house on the market. Besides, you have to make sure that the selling price of the house is enough to cover the mortgage you took for it and any renovations you might have to do to the house with a little to spare. This is not always the case and sometimes it might leave the owner out of options.
4. Better locations
Houses are usually located in the quieter residential areas of a town, unlike apartment buildings which are usually situated downtown. This makes them conveniently placed near shopping malls, convenience stores, and entertainment scenes.
They are also built around the transport system of the town/city that you live in, so it is easier, faster, and more affordable to make your commute to work or to pick your children from school. You also have access to more transport options if you live inside the city.
Choosing to rent an apartment can also allow you to live in more expensive locations where you would not be able to buy a house.
5. More amenities
Living in an apartment building gives you access to some convenient features. Some properties have a pool, a game room, a gym, rooftop access, and laundry machines. These make your life in the apartment more comfortable.
Homeowners can also have these features in their homes but the costs of building and maintaining them might become another burden in terms of both efforts and finances.
6. It is easier to save
The costs that come with owning a house are significant. This might make it harder for you to set some of your money aside to improve your financial security.
Living in an apartment reduces the amount of money you spend on housing which helps you save more for that holiday, a college fund, or even buying a house altogether.
7. Apartments are more secure
Many apartment buildings have security cameras for surveillance and gated communities. In some properties, the gates have access codes that control who gets access to the building. Many apartments also ensure each unit has a fire escape, which ensures your safety in case of anything.
There is also the issue of safety in numbers. Living in a building with other people also gives you confidence in your safety. In case anything is out of the ordinary, one of your neighbors is bound to notice. Also, if anything happens, the chances of someone close hearing and alerting the authorities are higher.
This makes them a safe option for people living alone and the elderly.
8. Fewer property worries
Living in an apartment lets you have a roof over your head without thinking about all the factors that come with being a homeowner. One of such issues is the property market. As a renter, whether the value of the building is getting higher or lower will not affect how much you pay in rent, since you are bound by the lease.
9. Some apartments are already furnished
you can come across some apartments that are fully equipped with furniture and some electronics like a fridge and microwave. This will save you the cost of buying appliances and you might also save some coin since you won’t need to buy, move, and rearrange the furniture.
Living in an apartment has less initial costs and maintenance efforts. This combined with a lack of tax among other factors makes them sound more appealing to anyone looking to find a home. As you decide between buying a house and getting an apartment, I hope this article has provided you with all the information you need.
Apartmentabc.com is owned and operated by Apartment ABC LLC, a New Jersey limited liability company. Apartment ABC LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.