Finding Your First Apartment in Cincinnati
Finding an apartment to live in can be a daunting task for anyone, let alone finding your first apartment ever to live in. For most of the first 18 years of our lives, where we lived was already predefined by our parents. If you then went off to college, you may have been limited by the selection of choices to dorms or similar institutions. Now that you have entered the real world, where you call home is entirely up to you for the first time.
Finding an apartment in Cincinnati can have it’s ups and downs during the process, but it does not have to be a scary or negative experience. Here are tips to make the process go as smooth as possible:
Plan a Budget
First, you need to know if you can afford to live in an apartment of your own. Things to consider in your renting budget include location, apartment size, and perhaps amenities. Experts suggest to spend no more than 30 percent of your monthly income on rent. But, keep in mind rent is not the only thing you will be paying for with your entry level salary. You may also need to budget for:
- Utilities (power, water, cable, internet, etc.)
- Home Goods (cleaning supplies, linens, kitchen supplies, etc.)
- Renting Application Fees
- Security Deposits (possibly the first and last month’s rent)
- Moving Expenses (movers, boxes, etc.)
- Renters Insurance
Upon reviewing your budget, to cut down on the costs of renting an apartment, you may need to change preferred neighborhoods or consider getting a roommate.
Landlords and property managers will want to make sure you can pay your rent each month so be prepared to provide financial records after applying for an apartment. Proof of income is typically requested in the form of pay stubs. If you have not begun working yet, an offer letter from your employer is usually enough. If a credit check is required, a third party (like a parent) can assist you.
Begin Your Search
Searching for an apartment to rent can be time consuming for the potential renter. We all want to find our ideal apartment in the right location, but sometimes we must compromise on or wish list. Decide what factors are must haves for you and which are negotiable. How long are you willing to spend commuting each day to work? What amenities are important to you specifically? Thinking about these parameters will help you begin your search.
Most apartment searches begin online. With anything online, be wary of scams. Make sure you are looking for an apartment from a reliable source, apartment services like CincyRents, are typically most trustworthy. Do not ever send money or personal information before confirming the listed rent space exists and is indeed available. Either view it in person or have a family member or friend view it for you to confirm.
If you are looking for an apartment in a new city and are unfamiliar with the different neighborhoods, try taking a walk around different places you potentially want to live. Look for availability in buildings that attract your eye. You’ll get a good sense of the area this way.
Questions to Ask When Searching for an Apartment
When viewing apartments and meeting with property managers or landlords, keep the following questions to potentially ask:
How long has the apartment been vacant? You don’t want an apartment that has been empty for too long or has quick turnover rate, it is usually an automatic red flag.
- Are, if any, utilities included in the monthly rent?
- How long is the lease?
- What date is the rent due each month?
- How much is the security deposit. Usually it is the amount of the first or first and last month’s rent.
- Do you have rent increases? How often and what is the amount?
- Is subleasing permitted?
- What are acceptable lease breaking conditions?
- What are the penalties for late rent payment?
- Is on-site maintenance available?
- What is your pet policy?
- What internet providers are available?
- Is the landlord or property management team allowed to enter without notice?
- Is painting the apartment permitted?
Signing an Apartment Lease
Once you’ve found an apartment that is right for you, take your time with the lease. Make sure to read through it in detail at least once or twice. A lease is a binding legal agreement and you don’t want to break it unless you have a legit reason. Leases typically last for 12 months. If you are unclear about anything listed in the lease, ask.
Make sure you are familiar with the rules of the building before move in day. Some apartments restrict move in times to certain days or hours as not to disrupt other residents. Deliveries or trash may have specified areas on the property, elevator rules, etc.
Find Apartment Rentals with Cincy Rents
Cincy Rents can help you navigate finding an apartment in Cincinnati. As Cincinnati’s premier apartment and home rental service, we are constantly updating our property listings online with high-quality apartments, condos, and houses available for rent. If you are in the market for your first apartment in the area, we would be happy to assist you with your search. Contact us today.