First-time renters in Virginia – what to expect

Most people decide to rent a place when they plan to live independently for the first time. This is a reasonable decision since most young people are still not financially ready to buy a house. However, a certain level of fear is often present in this situation mixed with excitement. Renting a place can be stressful and overwhelming. For this reason, here are all the tips for the first-time renters in Virginia. After you find your new home, you should look for Allstate Moving and Storage Maryland services. You should not expose yourself to even more stress, this time caused by relocation. Instead, hire a professional. 

First-time renters in Virginia must know how much they can afford 

You have to decide on your price range when renting an apartment. This is the most important step in the process. When you finally get to live in your own place, usually people believe bigger equals better. However, if you recently graduated and you are looking for a job, you might not be able to afford a large apartment. In addition to this, you should save money instead of spending everything on your monthly rent. That is why you should calculate how much you can spend every single month. Your calculation should include your rent, utility bills, grocerieshobbiesand similar. For now, you can find a smaller apartment that you can afford instead of spending your entire salary on the rent. You can always find affordable storage Virginia if you don’t have enough storage space in your apartment. Later, you can find a bigger place. 

black calculator next to some coins
You should decide how much you can spend

Find a real estate agent 

You can always try to find an apartment on your own. However, the housing market might be difficult to navigate by yourself. The reason is simple. The housing market might be highly competitive. Therefore, you need to be quick in order to rent a place that you want. Most people who are renting for the first time do not have the necessary skills and experience to get the place they want. Additionally, it can be physically demanding to go and see every single apartment that you find. Most people don’t have enough free time or even energy to go apartment hunting. For this reason, you should hire a real estate agent. Usually, landlords should pay for the agent’s commission. This means working with a real estate agent free of charge. But first, you should contact a real estate agent and get all the necessary information about the process. 

First-time renters in Virginia should pay attention to everything  

Probably one of the most exciting things when renting for the first time is visiting all the apartments. However, this is also a time when most people make mistakes. Usually, people pay attention only to aesthetics instead of functionality. This should be expected since most people would love to live in an apartment with a beautiful interior. But you can always ask your landlord if you can do some small DIY projects. You can also see if you can bring your own furniture. The more important things pay attention to would be the following. 

  • The neighbors – are they loud, do they have children or pets. Some people do not want to live in a building occupied by screaming children and noisy pets. 
  • Proximity to your work – try to save time on commuting 
  • Reception – See if you can get good phone reception. 
many balconies
Make sure to check your neighbors and see if you can live next to them

Understanding the application for renting an apartment  

Unfortunately, the application process is not so simple as one might expect it to be. First, you will have to get a credit and background check. Your credit score should be about 700. You will still have a good chance of getting the apartment if your credit score is around 600. However, anything below 600 will require a co-signer that has a good credit score. Why do you need to have a good credit score? It is important to landlords since this is a proof of you being able to pay your rent on time. Having a cosigner means they will be liable for paying your rent if you skip paying that month. In addition to this, you might need to pay an application fee of up to $20. In most cases, a landlord should return your money if your application is rejected. 

First-time renters in Virginia should review the lease carefully  

Before signing your lease, you should review the document carefully. First, check your move-in fees. Most buildings charge a fee when moving in so you need to see who will pay for that. Then, pay attention to rent increases. Usually, landlords can raise your rent when your lease expires after 12 months. See if you can rent a place longer and maybe receive a lower rent because of it. Next, see the policy regarding subletting. Some landlords will add the subletter’s name to the lease while others prohibit adding anyone. In addition to this, see how you can terminate your lease. Usually, you will need to notify your landlord in a designated time and schedule an inspection. Also, pay attention to the additional fees such as charging for cleaning services. Lastly, inform yourself about tenants and landlords’ rights in Virginia. It might be boring, but it’s for your protection.

two women reading some documents
You should review the documents before signing anything

Security deposit explained 

Most landlords will ask for a security deposit. It is reasonable since the landlords cannot know whether a person will pay their rents on time or keep the place clean. However, there are some rules your landlord has respect. Your security deposit cannot be higher than two months’ rents. In addition to this, when you move out, your landlord has to return your deposit within 30 days. For more information, ask your landlord about your security deposit. Lastly, make sure to document any damages and send it to your landlord. This way, a landlord cannot pay for repairs with the money from your security deposit.