What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment?

October 28, 2021 / Posted in Finding a Home
Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

What do you need to rent an apartment for the first time? This question comes to any young adult’s mind when they start wishing to leave their parents’ home. However, today’s rental opportunities are different than a few years ago, so we’ll take a look at some standard requirements for renting and venturing out on your own.

a woman off-screen holding apartment keys after cross-country moving
Many renting opportunities depend on the state you're looking to move to

What are Your Budget and Expectations?

Before you go hiring long-distance moving services to help you move out, consider the factors of relocating for the first time. Understandably, you have a burning desire to be independent, but there’s a cost. We don’t want to ruin any dreams here, but the reality is that the process of renting a property takes a while.

We’d always recommend getting a job before you move in the city where you’d eventually like to put down roots. It’ll make renting easier, and landlords will have more trust in your application. Plus, if you get a job, your budget will be significantly higher.

Relocating Alone Is Different than With Someone Else

Whether you intend to relocate to a city alone or take the leap of faith and relocate with a significant other, these are two very different renting experiences. It’s not just different because of shared expenses, but your prospects may increase if you move in with a partner or roommate.

In both cases, landlords aren’t allowed to discriminate against potential tenants based on their relationship status. However, they do make choices based on the renters’ financial abilities. If you have a partner or roommate with great credit, there may be a higher chance of getting the property of your dreams. Later, all you have to do is call an auto transport company and movers to help you move out without stress.

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In Cities, More Appealing Neighborhoods Are More Expensive

Many young people wonder how do I rent my first apartment in a new city and find a place near all the amenities? In bigger cities, rental options are aplenty, but they all have one thing in common – apartments closer to the city center have higher rents, no matter their size.

For someone relocating from a small town to a big city, rents can seem shockingly high at first. Most people want to be as close to the action as possible, but take our word for it, expanding your search area for apartments will give you many more options. That way, you’ll be saying bye to friends sooner than later.

City centers typically have limited parking areas, and zoning is more strict than on the outskirts. This matters because when you get relocation and packing services from movers or want them to ship your car to your doorstep, they may not be able to park in front of the building. That makes the whole thing a bit more difficult, especially for a car shipping company.

a couple calculating their budget before long-distance moving
Learn what your priorities and budget are when looking for apartments in a new place.

What Do You Need to Rent an Apartment? A Step by Step Guide

The basic requirements to rent an apartment are mostly related to your financial situation and capabilities. However, when you’re scouting for apartments, the first step is to get a tour. If a landlord keeps delaying or somehow isn’t open about the tour, it’s wise to look elsewhere.

Once you do a tour of the place, you choose to fill out an application. A condo application costs between $30 and $100 because it covers a credit check. Once you’ve filled it out, the landlord reviews all applications chronologically. Some may do it differently, but the general practice is doing it in chronological order not to seem discriminatory.

After reviewing your application, the landlord or management will contact you. If you’re approved, the next step is to provide a security deposit and the first month’s rent. Security deposits are as high as the renting amount but may be higher if you move with pets.

How Credit Is an Important Step In Your Apartment Application

So, what credit score do you need to rent an apartment? You can relocate out of state on a budget or have unlimited spending, but most serious landlords will check your credits either way. If they don’t, either way, you’ll have to guarantee that you can financially sustain yourself while living on their property. Some landlords require a yearly income that’s forty times higher than the monthly renting amount.

The common requirements are 600-650 points and above. Poor credit is considered anything below 580 points, and exceptional is 800 points and above. One of the factors is your payment history. If you’ve been paying bills regularly, you’ll come across as reliable. Besides, they check how much you currently owe and for an outstanding amount of credits or debts. You can read exactly how credit scores work before looking for apartments.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent an Apartment?

You might also wonder if you can rent an apartment without credit and what the age limit on renting is. The youngest any renter can be is 18 years old. In any case, consider whether it’s the best time to move for you. If you’re eager to leave your first home but don’t have the support of someone adult, there can be other solutions. Having the financial aid of your family members or someone in the household can guarantee stress-free relocation at a young age.

The girl in the video below is 18 and relocating to Washington DC for college. Check out her flat-hunting experience and the conditions in which she’s relocating. It may help you decide what to do if you’re in a similar situation.

The (Most Common) Basics of a Rental Application

When you start filling out the rental application, you’ll see some common questions any landlord would ask before renting their property out to someone. If you want to move to another state with a long-distance moving company, check out the basics of home renting applications first.

What do I need to rent an apartment? These are the essentials:

  • Social security number,
  • Driver’s license number,
  • Date of birth,
  • Contact information (phone number and email address,)
  • Reasons for relocating,
  • Previous addresses and reasons for moving,
  • A short description of yourself and other applicants,
  • Type of pets, if any,
  • Employment history and information on the current employer,
  • Financial information (current gross income, bank name, all financial obligations,)
  • Personal references.

This is more or less all the information for answering the question of how do you rent an apartment. You should be prepared to be truthful about all the information because it’s all more or less proof of reliability and character for those renting out apartments.

a person off-screen signing a document about renting before hiring long-distance movers
Filling out the rental form truthfully will help you build trust with your landlord.

The Verification Process Should Come From You as Much as the Landlord

Just as a person renting out a place has the right to check if you have enough income to pay monthly expenses, there are questions to ask before renting an apartment that you can use, too. In fact, one of the most common relocation mistakes is thinking that the person relocating is the only one who goes through a vetting process.

To avoid depression after relocating into a not-so-great flat after waiting to be reviewed for a while, take time to understand your potential landlord’s intentions for renting out a place. This shortcut is asking them questions about all the things you need for your first flat.

Some things you can ask before renting a place are:

  • Are there utilities, and how much do they generally cost?
  • How long is the contract? Is it a yearly term or month-to-month?
  • Do you allow pets? How much is the pet deposit?
  • What sort of heating is available? Central, floor, AC?
  • How can I communicate with my leasing agent?
  • What’s the condition and age of the building?
  • Do you have trash or recycling policies?
  • What are the possible storage areas?
  • How do I pay rent, online or in-person?
  • If I cancel my lease, is there a fee? Can I cancel my lease, and at what point?
  • Under what circumstances can you (the manager) cancel my lease?

These are just some of the things you could ask before seeing the place yourself. You can write them down and ask the person showing you the flat during the viewing. See their reaction to your questions, and be sure they look truthful and reliable.

If you like what you see, then fill out that questionnaire and be ready to call long-distance movers to move your belongings to the new home.

What Landlords Typically Include In the Renting Price

To help you get organized to move, you should also write down everything that goes into the monthly costs of your new residence. That way, with a list of your monthly obligations, you’ll have insight into all the details and make changes if something goes wrong.

The things that landlords typically include in renting fees, besides rents, are the security deposit, utilities, parking spots (which may not apply if you’re relocating to a small town,) and monthly pet fees if you move in with one.

a couple going through a house with a leasing agent
Your questions are just as important as the landlord's when it comes to renting a place

Learn Some Basic Rental Phrases to Understand the Process

In the case of a last-minute relocation, you can still prepare along the way by learning some rental lingo to appear more prepared for the relocation process. You may even be able to meet new neighbors by impressing them with your knowledge of lease agreements and amenities.

Make sure to remember these terms:

  • All bills paid – this means utilities are included in the monthly renting fee,
  • Amenities – you can have in-house amenities and those in the common areas for every condominium resident. Examples include washer and dryer, central heating, appliances for in-house, and a fitness center, pool, recreation center, or any kind of fun common amenity,
  • Lease agreement – the contract between you and your landlord, which contains all the terms and conditions related to the property,
  • Security deposit – a sum of money you leave with the renter, typically as high as the monthly renting expenses. This kind of deposit covers potential damage and collateral in case of a tenant vacating the property unannounced or damaging something in it,
  • Leasing agent – the person handling your visit, answering questions, and showing you the home; these are common in housing complexes that have their staff,

You should also learn more about upgrades and renovations, which up the renting costs a bit. Additionally, know what each type of property entails, from studios to multiple-bedroom apartments. Don’t get tricked into thinking that a divider in the middle of the living space means you have an extra room. It may look good, but it’s just a bigger space divided.

a couch and dining table in one space, a living/dining mix
Be sure to learn about what kind of place you're renting and the vital parts of your contract. It's essential to be prepared.

Renting Takes Time and Money, But If You Truly Want to Move, You’ll Be Prepared No Matter What

You can have dozens of reasons to move, but even having just one is enough to take this kind of leap. However, do you know how much money you really need to get an apartment? Are you aware of the costs of cross-country moving? Are you ready to make friends in a new city?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then it’s time to look at apartments that could be your new home. Make sure to prepare in advance, save up money, and take time to consider every decision. After all this, we’re confident that your move will be great and you’ll have the place of your dreams.

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