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What you Need:
A good credit score to determine how likely you are to get the apartment.
A sum of money that amounts to the cost of the first and last month's rent.
References so the seller can verify how well liked you are (to be a good neighbor).
Find a place any way you can (craigslist, rent.com, in person, etc.).
Contact the property.
Apply to rent by giving them your info and filling out an application if required.
They will contact you and tell you what you need to do
This will usually look like: "FOR RENT: CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION", they will probably need you to do an in person interview, then you wait and hope for acceptance. If you are accepted then you must pay all required deposits like security, first, and last, then you move in.
Stuff to know:
The fair cost of market rent in the area where you want to live. Average renting costs by zip code can be found here and here.
What amenities the apartment/complex will have (furniture, gym, spa, pool).
If it will allow pets.
How high the security deposit is. A security deposit is an insurance for the owner in case there is any damage to the property.
How high the are other deposits (first month's rent: giving money upfront for the first month’s rent, last month's rent: the money due for the final month’s rent).
Which bills are the owner's responsibility to pay versus which ones will be paid by the renting party (electricity, gas, cable, etc.).
Make sure to thoroughly document the state of the property before moving in and when moving out in order to ensure that the landlord cannot take the security deposit from you unfairly.
Make sure it is in a good location in relation to jobs, school, public transportation, and shopping.
Renters Insurance: Money paid to an insurance company to ensure that any of your property destroyed/damaged/stolen from your rental home is repaired/replaced. You will have a deductible which says how much money you have to pay before the insurance pays for the rest. The cost of the insurance is in part based on the value of your belongings. This is usually a reasonably priced and important insurance coverage to have.
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