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20 Things You'll Need When Renting

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Renting your own place can be exciting. Especially if it’s your first time! But with this newfound sense of freedom also come a number of new responsibilities, things that you won’t want to overlook when moving into your new space. 

While there’s a lot to do when you’re first getting started, the good news is that most of these things are one-time tasks and they’re less daunting than you think. They’re things that you’ll set up when you move into your rental, but then you won’t have to worry about them again for the duration of your lease. Ongoing tasks you’ll need to keep up with include paying rent, paying bills, renewing policies, and of course, basic cleaning and maintenance, but other than that, you’ll be able to sit back and relax and spend time enjoying your new place.

Ready to dive in? Here’s a look at some things you’ll want to keep in mind when looking for a rental, along with a list of things that you’ll need to have when you do find one.

What to Consider When Looking for a Rental 

If you haven’t already found your new rental, then you should keep a few basic things in mind when searching for a place to call your own. 

  • Cost: First, you should determine how much you can afford to spend on rent. A good rule is to avoid spending more than 30% of your gross income (before taxes) on rent. Most landlords and property management agencies will require your income to be three times the asking rent, so make sure you can afford the property that you find. If you cannot find anything within your budget, you could consider enlisting a cosigner. This is a third-party, usually a family member, who meets the income requirements and can cosign the lease with you. 

  • Location: Next up, the location is another vital consideration. You’ll want to make sure your new place is close enough to commute to work or school. Is it easy for friends and family to come and see you as well? Do you like the area that you’re in? Browse our available listings to find rental homes in your ideal location today.

  • Neighborhood: What’s the neighborhood like? Scout out the surrounding area before deciding if the unit is a good fit for you. It may be worth visiting the neighborhood in the evening or on the weekend so you can see for yourself what it’s like when everyone’s home from work and school. 

  • Nearby Amenities: Be sure to determine what amenities are important to you. Are you hoping to be close to public transportation? Shops and restaurants? What about parks and green spaces? Know what is important to you before you go looking! 

  • Pet Friendliness: Another big thing to keep in mind is whether the unit is pet friendly. If you are planning to bring along a pet or hope to get one, you will want to ensure that the property is pet friendly. You should also ask what the fees are for a pet, as many landlords will require a pet security deposit and charge a pet rent. 

Things You’ll Need When Renting

The day has come. You’ve decided to go for it and move into your own place. Making the big move can be exciting, but in all the excitement there are some things you should consider first. To help you prepare, here are ten important things you’ll probably need when renting. 

Note: Keep in mind that every situation is different, and you might find that your needs when renting are different. Still, this list is a good place to start and includes things that can help to make life a bit easier when you transition into your new home.

  • Paperwork: Before you start your lease, your future landlord will require some paperwork from you. If you haven’t gone through the process of renting yet, you might be surprised at how much paperwork you need in order to secure a lease. Here are some documents that you may need:

  • Proof of ID: A photo ID such as your driver’s license or other identification will be required when you fill out a rental application. If you don’t have a driver’s license, then a passport, a state ID, or permanent resident card will most often suffice. 

  • Bank Statements: Most landlords require at least two months of bank statements to prove that you have a source of income as well as the ability to pay the rent. Consider highlighting the deposits to help limit the amount of time your landlord has to spend looking for these transactions. 

  • References: A reference letter or recommendation is helpful but not required. However, landlords will most likely request your previous landlord’s phone number (if applicable) and a few references that aren’t related to you as well. 

  • Paystubs: Landlords ask for paystubs for a couple of different reasons. First of all, to make sure you are employed, and secondly, to verify your income. Most landlords will ask for two of your most recent paystubs to help provide some reassurance you can make the rent. Be sure to make copies and turn in a copy, not the original. If you’re an independent contractor, then you may not have access to paystubs or a steady paycheck. If you fall into this category, you can often provide your 1099 from your tax return to help prove that you have an income. 

  • Social Security Number: Your landlord will be running a background check and credit check as well, and they’ll need your social security number to do this. 

  • The Basics: If this is your first big move on your own, then you will need to stock up on the essentials. Don’t worry about getting everything when you first move in. Things like decor, while fun, can always wait until you’re settled in. Here are a few things you should consider getting when you first move in to help your first few days flow smoothly. 

  • Kitchen: Aside from food, you will want to make sure you have a few pans, a casserole dish, a mixing bowl, and some measuring cups and spoons. You’ll also want a few plates, bowls, cutlery, mugs, and glasses. Get a few utensils such as a spatula, wooden spoon, serving spoons, a couple of good knives (at least a paring knife and a utility or chef’s knife), a can opener, and a whisk. Also, pick up a few potholders and a couple of kitchen towels. From there, you can branch out and add to your collection as time goes on. The kitchen can be one of the costliest rooms to kit out with items. There are so many different gadgets that might think you’ll need, but you can always start with the basics and work out from there. Don’t forget the supplies like trash bags, dish soap, hand soap, and washcloths or sponges.  

  • Bedroom: Aside from the bed, you will also want to secure bedding as well. Try to get a couple of sets of sheets and pillowcases, along with pillows and bedding, including a comforter and blankets. Things like end tables and dressers, while beneficial, can wait if needs be. Don’t commit to buying the whole bedroom set right away. Start with the basics and then work on adding to it as your needs grow. 

  • Bathroom: Be sure to stock up on toilet paper, bath towels, a washable bath mat, toiletries, and hand soap. You also will want to buy a plunger and toilet brush. If you have a shower, you will want to get a shower curtain and rings as well. 

  • Livingroom: If your rental isn’t furnished, you might consider finding a few furnishings to help your rental feel like home. A good chair or couch is the best place to start, but don’t fret if you can’t afford all the furnishings at once. You might also consider shopping in second-hand stores or online marketplaces to find used items that can be more budget-friendly. 

  • Additional Items: You’ll also want to get some lightbulbs to have on hand. Choose LED bulbs if you’d like to save on your energy bills. You can buy LEDs that are on the very warm side of the spectrum to add warmth and coziness to your space. A flashlight and candles are useful as well. If you live in an area that sees hot summers, you’ll want to get a couple of electric fans as well.

  • A Budget : If you don’t have one already, it’s important to get yourself a budget. Consider rent, utilities, food, and other essentials as well as gas money. If you can, try to budget to save a bit each month as well. Having a budget will help you to see exactly what your income and expenses are, allowing you to plan your expenditures accordingly so you don’t end up coming up short at the end of the month.

  • Renters Insurance : One thing that many renters don’t realize is that they need renters insurance. While your landlord has insurance on the house and property, your belongings aren’t covered under their policy. If something were to happen to the property and your items were to get destroyed, you would end up having to cover the cost of replacing your personal belongings. Renters insurance is good protection in case of damage and usually covers your belongings from theft and fire as well. You should also check to see if your policy offers coverage for temporary housing, should your rental unit end up damaged and deemed ‘uninhabitable.’ 

  • Utilities: If the utilities aren’t included in your lease, then this will be up to you to secure them. Think of the basics first: electric, water, and sewer. Then work on getting the extras such as internet, cable, and garbage service. Be sure to check your lease to see if anything was included before you go hooking up your own. If time allows, you might consider transferring utilities into your name ahead of time, that way you aren’t in your rental without electricity and water for any length of time. Likewise, when it comes to internet coverage, it pays to plan ahead. In some locations, it can take a while to set internet service up, so it may be an idea to start the process as soon as possible and have a plan for what you will use for the internet while you wait for it to be hooked up. Using a mobile phone and data to “hotspot” coverage could be a good temporary solution. 

  • Toolbox : A basic toolkit will be helpful when your first move into your new place. Keep in mind that your landlord may not want you to do any extensive remodeling, and you should check to see what the rules are first before you start putting nails into the walls. Still, when you are on your own, having a basic toolkit will come in handy for doing minor DIY projects around the place. Some light fixtures, for example, need to be removed in order to replace the bulb. Include things such as a tape measure, a hammer, a screwdriver set, and plyers. This will come in handy when you start assembling your new furniture as well. 

  • Cleaning Supplies : One of the things that’s often overlooked or forgotten when it comes to moving into your own place is the cleaning supplies. These things are often taken for granted but are especially important. Consider things such as a vacuum, two buckets (bathroom and kitchen), two mops (bathroom and kitchen), a broom, a scrub brush, sponges, cloths, disinfectant wipes or spray, and an extendable duster for starters. You should also get some cleaning products. Liquid laundry detergent diluted with water works great for tile and linoleum surfaces, while dish soap works wonders in the bathtubs and showers. While most rental units are cleaned before tenants move in, it can be nice to do a quick clean yourself, not to mention you will want to keep up with the cleaning as well.

  • An Extra Set of Keys: It happens. You lock your keys in the house. You don’t want to be THAT tenant that has to call their landlord the day after moving in because you’ve locked your keys in the house, do you? Save yourself the phone call and get a copy made. Just check your lease first to make sure you’re able to. Consider giving a set to a trusted friend or family member who lives nearby, just in case. 

  • A Copy of the Lease: If you haven’t been given a copy yet, it’s important to ask for a copy of your lease. Not only is it important to have a copy of that on hand, but it can also be useful for reference if you have a question about what is included or isn’t included or any terms that you are unclear about. Make sure you’ve had a chance to read the entire lease carefully and ensure that you understand it before you sign on the dotted line. 

  • A Positive Outlook: Finally, don’t forget to keep a positive outlook! Remember, this is a big step, and things can be overwhelming at first, especially when you first move in and everything is in chaos. Try not to let the upheaval upset you, though. Remember, it’s only temporary. Take the first few nights to settle in, allowing yourself time to get everything put how you want it. Focus on the bedroom, kitchen, and bathrooms first, as these are the rooms you’ll need to be using when you first arrive. Consider going out for dinner or ordering delivery the first night or two, as you’ll probably still be getting the kitchen set up and won’t need the added stress of assembling a meal while you’re trying to unpack. Once you have everything put into place, make a list of items you still need to procure, and then make a trip out to get them. Sure, the first few days will be stressful, but soon you’ll be settled into your new place, and will be able to relax in comfort and enjoy having things exactly as you’d like them to be in your very own space.

Congratulations, you did it! You made the big move and are on your way to setting up your own pad. Remember, being a tenant is a big responsibility and something you shouldn’t take lightly, so here are a few final housekeeping notes as you settle in. Be respectful of your neighbors as well as your landlord. Follow the terms of the lease, always pay the rent on time, and keep your space tidy. Small things will go a long way toward helping everything to run as smoothly as possible, and when you end up moving to another location, you will have a glowing reference from your landlord to bring along with you. 

Looking for a place to rent? Be sure to check out our available listings. Find rentals that meet your budget and criteria quickly and easily, today!

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