5 Important Questions Before You Rent

Don’t stress about your next move! Here are five important questions to ask before moving that will make the process as smooth as possible.

There’s no question that moving can be stressful. You have to make some important decisions and usually don’t have all that much time to make them, not to mention the physical chore of packing up every single belonging, transporting them to somewhere new, then unloading and unpacking them. While every aspect of moving isn’t going to be fun, if you prepare and ask the right questions you can greatly reduce the stress levels and maybe even enjoy certain parts of the process!

If you’re moving to the Kansas City, Kansas area give us a call! Take a look around our website to see if our community may be right for you, then apply now to see what floorplans are available. We’d love to meet you and show off our wonderful features and apartments!

1.       What’s your price range?

While it’s true that you get what you pay for, you also don’t want to spend the majority of your paycheck on rent with not much left over for other costs. There’s a good chance you already have an idea of how much you want to spend on monthly rent, but sitting down and writing a budget is a good exercise to do to ensure you don’t accidentally break the bank, or on the flip side maybe you can afford more than you realize! First figure out how much you take home every month, then make a list of all your monthly expenses without rent. Some of those numbers will be easy to find, since a phone bill is typically the same month to month, but for other items like clothing, entertainment, and groceries, take a look at your previous months’ bank and credit card statements to get an average number. Then play around with the numbers and figure out what percentage of the rest you want to put toward rent versus savings. Don’t forget other costs, too, that may or may not be included in the rent like heat/gas, electricity, water, and internet/cable.

2.       What are your needs and wants?

As you’re thinking about what you’d like to spend each month on rent you should also consider what your needs and wants are. This list should include both inside and outside the apartment, as well as the overall neighborhood. You can start large by determining if you want more of an urban, downtown city feel or if you’d prefer something more laid back in the suburbs. As you narrow down your prospects you can drive around the neighborhood to get a firsthand feel, or even type in the address into Google Maps and zoom out to see the local businesses, grocery stores, shops, and entertainment around. As far as the apartment itself is concerned, you should distinguish between your wants and needs. For example, you may not want to pay an extra $200/month for the apartment with wood flooring, but you’d pay any additional amount for in unit-laundry so you don’t have to lug your dirty clothes to and from a laundromat or down the hall every week or two.

3.       How long are you willing to commute each day?

In addition to the overall neighborhood, you should think about your commute. We Midwesterners don’t typically mind driving everywhere, but are you actually willing to make that 45+ minute drive both ways every single day? Again Google Maps can be your friend, as you can enter both the to and from address and it will calculate average drive times for any time of the day. You can even drive it yourself to test it out if you’d like. For those who work from home you may not be as worried about drive time, but you will want to ask about the connectivity situation to make sure your home internet will be fast enough for your needs. Some apartment communities also offer coworking spaces so you don’t have to pay for overpriced coffee to get out of the house for free WiFi.

4.       What are policies that will apply to you?

This list is in no way exhaustive, and some of these questions may not apply to you, however, you should know the answers to questions like this before signing a lease:

·         What is the pet policy, including fees and deposits, and are there breed, weight, or other restrictions?

·         When is rent due and how do I pay it?

·         Can I decorate the apartment with paint or hanging pictures?

·         What’s the parking situation?

·         What are the quiet hours, and when are the pool, fitness center, and other community areas open?

·         Do I get any visitor passes?

·         What happens if I need to break my lease?

·         Do you have any recommended companies for renter’s insurance, cable and internet, or other additional services?

·         What utilities are and aren’t included?

5.       How am I planning on moving?

Hopefully you gave yourself plenty of time and you can get a game plan together so you’re not packing everything all at once. No matter how organized you typically are, it’s a good idea to set a goal to pack so many boxes per day, or even aim for one room per week. As you’re packing make sure to label all boxes with the room as well as the contents, and pack in reverse order from when you’ll need the items. You’ll also need to decide how you want to get everything from point A to point B. For example, if you have a lot of heavy furniture and are only moving across town it may be worth it to hire professional movers for the afternoon. If you’re moving farther or only have a few pieces of furniture you may be able to save some money by renting a box truck and cashing in some of the IOUs from friends.

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