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Tips every first time renter needs to know

Mon May 15, 2017

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Renting for the first time is just as daunting as buying. You're moving out of home, competing with dozens of people in the same situation as you, and trying to find a place that suits. Just because you won't be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, doesn't mean it's not scary. 

But scary has never meant impossible. With these tips, every first-time renter can find a home with confidence. 

Step 1: Working out your budget 

Before you can even think about renting, you need to make sure you have the money saved up. However, it's also important to ensure you will be able to support yourself once you move out. This means you will need, of course, to have a steady job. Once you start getting paid regularly, you can decide how much you need for rent each month. Ideally, you don't want to spend more than 30 per cent of your paycheck on rent each month, that way you have money to spend on extra expenses and entertainment. 

Traditionally you will need to provide your landlord with the following:

  • Bond (Typically four weeks rent, but depends on the place)
  • Proof of income
  • A month or so of rent in advance 

Don't forget to factor in other living expenses that aren't included. They will add up, so budget these for at least the next three months: 

  • Contents insurance
  • Furniture
  • Utilities
  • Internet 
  • Food 
  • Any other necessary expenses (like medication)
Make sure you're really ready for your first apartment in Sydney!Make sure you're really ready for your first apartment in Sydney!

Step 2: Deciding what neighbourhood to rent in

Once you have an idea of what you can spend per month, you can start to look for places in your neighbourhood. This is the fun part, but it's important to go into apartment viewings with a level head. You might instantly fall in love with the crown moulding in every room, but that will quickly loose its appeal if you have weak water pressure or noisy neighbours. That said, an inspection of the apartment isn't just about the place itself, it also includes checking into the people who you'll have to be surrounded by as well. 

To avoid renters regret, make a list of things you should check the apartment for before you sign the lease. Here is a list of some of the important things to keep in mind to get you started - however, if there are certain requirements you can't live without, add them to the list as well.

  • Inspection for mould
  • Water damage marks
  • Adequate closet/storage space
  • Type of neighbours
  • Background check of landlord

Flatmates, whether they are your best friend or not, can be a liability.

Step 3: Picking your flatmates 

Are you thinking it would be fun to live with your closest friends instead of living on your own? Well, even if you decide to go with random flatmates, it's important to do an assessment of their characteristics first. Flatmates, whether they are your best friend or not, can be a liability. 

Horror stories of disrespectful flatmates circle the property market - you've probably heard one or two yourself. Roommate rows can evolve from late rent payments to blatant disregard for the property. Unfortunately, the terms of the tenancy agreement will need to be followed by all - if one isn't paying or has caused property damage, the costs will fall on everyone who signed the agreement (unless they state otherwise). Social media is a great way to check up on potential flatmates who you don't already know. Of course, it's not a bad idea to meet with them over a cup of coffee to see how you get along as well. You can work with the property manager to ensure everyone signs the agreement and is okay with the terms.

Even after reading all of that, we get that finding your first apartment can be a nerve wracking process. Here at Laing+Simmons, our property agents want to help you throughout the renting journey - contact us today, and we'll help you get out of your parents basement!

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