Are you tired of renting that ten-by-eight feet room in a house, living with a landlord that has a nagging mom-in-law and a noisy five-year-old kid? Do you feel stressed, restrictive and you really need more privacy?
Perhaps it’s time to consider renting your own apartment.
Apartment hunting can actually be daunting, but well, everybody has to start somewhere. Here are four questions to kick-start your journey.
1. What is my budget?
Reality check: can you really afford to stay on your own? How much can you put aside for your apartment rental monthly? No point looking out for a luxurious apartment if you can ill-afford it. You’ll only end up, sooner or later, getting into debt and worse, getting kicked out by the landlord with a one-week notice!
Renting an apartment is not a short-term thing, unless you are going on a holiday. Think long term. Your landlord will likely prepare an agreement that specifies your tenancy duration, usually for either one or two years. Be sure you can pay for it.
Not sure how to determine your budget? The simplest way is to add up your rental, food cost, transport cost, utilities and recurring bills, plus some extra to spare. The total amount should be less than your salary or allowance.
Salary or allowance – (rental + food budget + transport budget + utilities + recurring bills + savings) = NOT ZERO or NEGATIVE!
2. Location: Where do I want to stay?
You are either a working adult or a college or university student. The location of your apartment is important because you want to stay somewhere that is convenient, and not too far from your workplace or college.
This is particularly important if you live in an urban or city area, where there are daily traffic jams to contend with. Saving on transport cost and travel time, whether you are driving or taking public transport, are top priorities.
Logically, your location choice must offer the kind of properties that fit your budget. It’s easy to find out the range of rental online, on property websites which normally comes with all the details of the apartment and its amenities.
If you’re travelling by LRT to work or your college daily, look at the apartments along the LRT line. Make time to take a ride there to get a more realistic feel. You can also look at the noticeboards at the bus stops and inside the 7-Elevens nearest the LRT station and apartments; some landlords advertise rooms and apartments for rent this way.
Once you find any ads that you like, contact the agent or landlord to arrange for viewing.
3. What kind of apartment do I want to stay in?
When you search for an apartment to rent, you should have some idea about what kind of apartment you want to stay in, and what is acceptable and what is not.
Do you prefer a low-density apartment with privacy, or do not mind a high-density unit with the lower rental rate? Would you be okay with a studio unit that provides no privacy to your bedroom when friends come over?
A two or three-bedroom apartment will allow you ample space to have a guest room (in case friends or family drop by to stay over), as well as a storeroom where you can keep all your belongings. You may even consider renting it out to another person. However, if you plan on sharing the unit with another person, do consider having more than one bathroom.
Do you prefer one with a balcony? Lower or higher-level floors? Is having an elevator important to you?
4. What kind of amenities do I like to have in and around the apartment?
Units can come unfurnished, partially furnished or fully furnished. If kitchen cabinets, air-conditioners and water heaters are important to you, then scout for units which come installed with them.
Do you want an apartment with facilities such as a gym and swimming pool? Is security important to you? Having amenities such as eateries, grocery shop, or laundrette within the apartment compound itself also provide convenience, especially if you do not drive.
Finally, don’t just review one unit. Check out a few apartments. Then weigh the pros and cons before making your decision. Remember to have enough savings for the initial payment, which is normally a 3-plus-1 off the rent value. Read the tenancy agreement carefully before signing it.
There, now you can live happily and comfortably in the apartment of your choice for a long time.