Renting your first apartment – NJ edition

Finally, you are ready to start being independent and leave the nest. That sounds like a dream! However, for those that never lived alone or never rented an apartment, this can also be a challenge. Where do you even start? Renting your first apartment shouldn’t be too difficult if you follow our tips. Also, keep in mind that it is alright to ask for help. Get your family and older friends involved. Surely, they will have some great advice for you. Let’s start with our tips and advice. Get ready for apartment hunting in New Jersey.

Criteria and location are key when looking for your first apartment

Before you even start searching for apartments, you must decide which criteria do you want your first apartment to meet. Also, you need to figure out where do you want it to be located. The great thing about searching for apartments online is that many websites have filters and search boxes. In them, you can specify the location, number of rooms, price, etc.

Hence, you will not be wasting time looking at proprieties that do not interest you. Do not start thinking about apartment decorations, before you get this part figured out.

What do you really need?

Knowing which criteria, you want your apartment to meet is key to your future comfort and happiness. Do you want a studio apartment or a one-bedroom apartment? How about a parking space? Do you need it? The list of questions goes on and on. Also, if you have pets you must look for rental properties that are pet-friendly. By now you get the picture. Based on your needs, figure out what type of apartment do you need. Later on, based on the preferred criteria and other factors, you will be able to plan your budget before moving to NJ.

Where do you want to be located?

Determining the location of your future home is of utmost importance. First, you might want to think about which New Jersey neighborhood do you like? Also, would you prefer to live downtown or in a suburban setting?

Floor of a bus with all occupied seats, that you might used to travel to your first apartment.
There are many that live in NJ but commute to NYC. Usually, the fastest way to do that is by using public transportation.

Second, the fact do you drive or not makes a big difference in your choice. In case you frequent public transportation, you must look for properties that are close to the train station or other public transportation methods that you prefer. However, if you forget these details transportation might be a big expense and an additional moving cost that you never considered.

Check out your first apartment

Considering you will be living and spending a lot of time in your first apartment, you must take a tour and inspect the place before you lease it. Do not trust the pictures that you see online. Landlords can make a property look like a dream when in reality it is a total dump. Above all, don’t forget, if you choose poorly, your move to New Jersey will cost you a lot.

What should you inspect?

It is very important to know what to look for when inspecting a property. Looking only at esthetics is not enough. So, do your due diligence and inspect the place like an experienced renter. Only afterward, you can feel free to visit and book your professional movers. For those that do not know what to check here are some guidelines.

Tall white residential building.
Having an apartment with a beautiful view is always amazing.

Check the property like a seasoned renter

During your check, you want to be detail-oriented and very thorough. Consequently, here is what you need to do:

  • Check the windows, doorknobs, and locks. If they do not lock and close properly ask the property owner to fix them.
  • Examine the floors for any irregularities. The slightest deformity can indicate that there was some leakage.
  • Look for spots and discoloration on the ceiling for the purpose of spotting past leaks.
  • Check out all the sockets and outlets.
  • Be conscious of the amount of natural light. Places that lack natural light tend to put the residence in a negative mood.
  • Take a look at all the appliances and make sure they function properly.
  • Focus on the floors. Any wholes in the floor may be indications that bugs were present.

Hopefully, you will not find any of these issues. However, if you do, do not hesitate to bring them up to the landlord.

Rental application

For those that were lucky and found a New Jersey apartment that they liked it is time to take care of the rental application. Of course, this is only after you examined the property and determined that everything is alright. Do not think about when you need help with transporting furniture or other things in regards to your move to New Jersey. That would be jumping the gun. First take care of other business, like rental application. Accordingly prepare your credit history, employment information, credit scores, bank statements, etc. Since this is the first apartment that you are renting, be aware that you might be asked to have a cosigner.

Signing the lease

Signing the lease is the last step of your journey of renting your first apartment. Before you sign the lease, make sure you read the entire thing. It should be written in simple language, so everybody can comprehend it. Initially, you might not understand every detail. Therefore, you should ask for help. Your parents or older friends can help you interpret difficult segments of the lease. Only once you are 100% certain that everything is in order, you can proceed with signing the papers.

A contract being signed.
Make sure you understand the provided document before you sign it. Once you do you have made a commitment.

In the end, your experience with your first apartment in New Jersey largely depends on you. To be more specific, it depends on the way you will handle apartment hunting. The more you research the better you are off. Do not be in a rush. If you are too eager to leave the nest you might make a hasty decision that will, later on, bite you. Take your time, ask for advice and get ready to enjoy your independence.

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