5 Important Questions to Ask Before Renting

Don’t stress about your next move! Start with these five questions before signing your next lease.

Regardless of how often you move around it can be stressful to find a new place. At New Longview, we aim to answer all questions and keep the entire leasing process as transparent as possible. We’ve talked to quite a few new renters over the years and have a list of top questions to ask yourself before finding a new apartment and signing a lease. This list may not be exhaustive, but it will get you on the right track!

Moving to Lee’s Summit or the Kansas City area? New Longview may be for you! Look around our website for pictures, apartment and community features, and more. Apply now to see what floorplans are available today!

1.       What do I need and what can I afford?

Before you start looking for an apartment you need to figure out what you’re looking for exactly, and what price range. Regardless of if you’re renting or moving anytime soon, it’s a good idea to put a budget together. Look at your recent bank and card statements to put together a list of regular monthly expenses. Some of these expenses will be easy to find, like phone, internet, and cable bills, and others you may need to average out like groceries, utilities, and dining out. If you are thinking about moving keep in mind that most apartments require three times the rent, so if you want a place that’s $1,000/month you’d have to make $3,000/month (before taxes). Some apartments do include utilities, but others don’t so it’s better to budget for those costs as well.

Once you have an idea of a price range you should make a list of wants and needs for an apartment and the community. Think about what you’d like versus what are your dealbreakers. For example, you may enjoy the look of wood flooring and an open concept kitchen, but absolutely need in-unit laundry. If you’re an avid fitness enthusiast you may require a 24-hour fitness center on the property, or if you have children maybe a gated community is a need. If you’re living with a roommate or partner make sure you include them on this conversation as well, as some of your wants may be their needs.

2.       Where do I want to live?

Once you have a better idea of the what, you should narrow down the where. This is obviously the city, but also the neighborhood. For example, are you more laid-back or have a family and want a more suburban feel? Or do you prefer an urban environment, like something in downtown KCMO? Also think about nearby areas you’d like, such as entertainment, and libraries. If you have a dog or enjoy nature consider parks and hiking trails.

Keep these types of thoughts in mind as you start to tour apartments, and consider giving yourself enough time before or after to drive around the neighborhood. You could also even put the address into Google Maps and see what businesses are advertised near there. The leasing team can also be a great resource, since they work and most likely live around there.

3.       How will I get to work?

This is an important question, especially if you’re moving for work. How long are you willing to travel to and from work every day? Are you going to drive or do you prefer public transportation? Google Maps and Waze allow you to put in both addresses and gives you average travel times during rush hour or whenever you’d leave of a morning or evening. Google Maps also has the same technology for public transportation.

If you work remote or don’t go to a physical office every day you may have a different set of needs. For example, you’ll need a reliable internet connection for uploads, downloads, and conference calls. Also, even though it’s known as “working from home”, you probably won’t want to stay in your apartment all day every day. What coffee shops, libraries, or other coworking options are nearby? Some apartment communities themselves offer business centers or coworking lounges so you don’t even have to pay for overpriced coffee to use the WiFi.

4.       What are the lease terms and community rules?

The last thing you want after signing away the next 12 or more months is to find out a term or condition you weren’t aware of. A good leasing agent will go over any questions beforehand, and bring up anything important without asking. Some important policies to know about are pets, such as weight limits, breed restrictions, deposits, and monthly fees.

Some other important rules to know about are:

·        Painting, hanging pictures, and other decorations

·        Parking options and upgrades

·        Visitor policies and guest parking

·        Community area (pool, fitness center, etc.) hours and rules]

·        Lease terms, and how to break the lease if necessary

·        How and when to pay the rent

·        Renter’s insurance

·        Hooking up utilities

5.       When and how am I moving?

It’s no secret that moving isn’t the most fun activity. While looking for apartments may be enjoyable, the actual act of moving is not. The good news is that with proper planning even moving doesn’t have to be that stressful! First, make a game plan. Figure out when you’re moving and make goals for yourself between now and then, packing up so many boxes or rooms per evening or weekend. Make it reasonable and actually stick to it, because you definitely don’t want to be packing everything last minute. Make sure to mark the outside of the boxes properly as well, with both the contents and the room to make unpacking easier. Keep in mind the items you’ll need sooner rather than later, and items you’ll still be using as your moving date approaches. Pack in reverse order, starting with items like off-season clothing, extra bedding, and decorations.

You’ll also need to determine how to get from point A to point B. While hiring a professional moving company will make things a lot easier, they can get expensive if you need them for more than a few hours. If you’re only moving across town and have a lot of heavy furniture that rental fee would probably be worth it. If you’re moving a longer distance or only have boxes and lighter furniture it might behoove you to rent a box truck and cash in some IOUs with friends.

Do you have moving tips and tricks? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to let us know!

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