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How To Rent An Apartment
by Ruby Bayan

What is an apartment home?

An apartment is a room or set of rooms used as a residence. It can be referred to as a studio (one room), a one-bedroom unit, or a two- to three-bedroom suite. Apartment units are usually grouped together in an apartment building, and these buildings grouped together in an apartment complex.

Many apartment homes are available fully-furnished. More common, however, are units semi-furnished with kitchen and laundry appliances. Depending on the location and architecture, apartments can have heating and air-conditioning, hot and cold water, fireplaces, patios, carpets, blinds, walk-in closets, and cable connections.

Four-star apartment complexes provide various amenities including clubhouses, pools, Jacuzzis, tennis/volleyball/basketball courts, fitness centers, playgrounds, picnic areas, and car wash facilities.

What are the advantages of renting an apartment?

When you rent or buy a house, aside from having to shell out a hefty initial outlay, you will be personally responsible for all the upkeep and sprucing up of your property. You need to mow the lawn, prune the trees, fix the plumbing, repaint the walls, wash the windows, and shampoo the carpet. When you rent or lease an apartment, the managers of the complex take care of these chores for you, all covered by your monthly rent.

Attending to landscaping and structure maintenance, including plumbing, electrical, and appliance repair/replacement, the apartment management makes sure that you are safe and comfortable as a resident of their complex.

Without having to worry about usage fees and maintenance, you can enjoy amenities like swimming pools, spas, and sports facilities. Many complexes are gated for increased security. Some even provide free cable and internet connections. Many sponsor community functions exclusively for their residents, like weekend lunches, holiday parties, and poolside movies.

Steps for Renting/Leasing an Apartment

  1. Find the apartment unit you like. One of the ways to avoid spending too much time, effort and gas on apartment hunting, is by going over a copy of the local apartment guidebook. The guidebook is free, published per city, nationwide, and can be found in convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and motels/hotels. Various apartment-for-rent magazines are also locally distributed for free. Searching online is definitely a big help. By exploring the features, rates, and locations of the many apartment complexes available, you can narrow your search down to a short list of apartment homes you want to inspect in person.

  2. Visit the apartment complex. Do an ocular inspection of the first apartment in your list. Note how far it is from your place of work. Drive around the compound. Is it the environment/neighborhood you and your family will feel at home in? Ask the manager to give you a tour of the different units they have. Ask about the rental rates, amenities, and occupancy terms and conditions. Don't decide until you've seen the other apartment communities you've listed.

  3. Submit an application. When you've decided on which apartment you want to rent, fill out their application form. This is a formality which allows the manager of the apartment complex to check your identity and credit standing. You may be required to pay an application fee at this time.

  4. Pay the security deposit and advance rent. Most apartments require a security deposit (refundable subject to conditions) and a month's rent due before your move-in date. Some complexes charge for additional parking space, additional cable subscriptions, pool views, and pets.

  5. Sign the rental/lease agreement. Although most of the rental/lease terms will have been discussed by the manager, be sure to read all the fine print in the lease agreement. Take note of specific regulations on parking, recycling, garbage collection, security, use of facilities, alterations, maintenance, and move-out procedures.

  6. Move in. On the date you had agreed on, move into your apartment with your belongings, and begin to enjoy your new home and community!

[First published at New2USA.com, 2000]

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