Renting can be an exciting time for first timers. It can also be stressful when you are not sure what to expect. In both cases it isn’t something you can step into lightly. Consider several things before you start looking for a townhome or apartment for rent. From saving for upfront costs and preparing to apply for a place to finding the right location, don’t start this process in the dark.

We have the answers to some of your frequently asked questions about renting. Whether you’re looking for a Hanover luxury apartment or a Gettysburg townhome, we can help you take the steps necessary to become a happy renter.

How Does Renting an Apartment Work?

There are a few steps to before choosing a rental, so be sure that you take your time and carefully consider each aspect.

1. Budget

When you’re looking for a townhome or apartment for rent, you should first consider your budget. Many financial experts recommend that your monthly rent is between 25% and 33% of your take-home pay. Remember that you’ll also be responsible for things like utilities, groceries, renter’s insurance, and more each month. Once you figure out how much you can spend on rent, you can start finding the right location.

2. Location, Location, Location

The location of your rental is important. You want somewhere that is not too far of a commute from your job, has good school districts if you have kids, and has stores and entertainment nearby. For example, our Hanover luxury apartments and townhomes, like Beechwood Way and Heights Avenue, offer safe, quiet communities where you can find moments of peace and relaxation. They aren’t far from city conveniences and just a short commute to cities like Harrisburg, PA, Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC.

3. Preliminary Tour and Inspection

After you find a perspective place to rent, you’ll want to take a tour of the place. Make sure the floor plan and storage options will work for you. Inspect the property by looking for holes in the wall, stains in the carpeting, and scratches on the hardwood floors, and check that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors work. If you find anything amiss, speak with the landlord about them to either document that you weren’t responsible or have them repaired.

4. Application

The next step would be to apply for a rental. You’ll likely need to pay an application fee to cover the credit check, which should be between $25 and $40. Fill out the application, provide your application fee, and include any references you may have obtained.

5. Sign the lease

If you are approved, the time comes to sign the lease. Be sure to read it carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask the landlord what it means, or bring it to a lawyer to check. It should outline your responsibilities and the landlord’s, including when rent is due, who is responsible for repairs, and who pays utilities. Be sure to document on the lease any of the issues you found during your initial inspection unless they’ve already been addressed. You’ll also need your security deposit, the first month’s rent, and (sometimes) the last month’s rent.

6. Move

You finally get to move into your new townhome or apartment for rent! Now is the time to make the place your own and prepare for the upcoming rent. Don’t forget to get renter’s insurance to protect your belongings in a disaster.

What Do Landlords Ask for When Renting?

Landlords must do their due diligence when talking with prospective renters. You will need to provide a copy of your identification, show recent pay stubs, and sometimes show bank statements as well. Many will also ask for an application fee to cover the cost of a credit check.

If your credit score is non-existent because you are just starting or is lower than a landlord might want to see, securing a co-signer may be a good idea. A co-signer will also have their credit checked and sign a document saying they are legally obligated to pay the rent in case you do not. You may also wish to have a few character references write a letter since you won’t have rental history to show the landlord you’d be a good tenant.

What Do First-Time Renters Need to Know?

Something a lot of first-time renters may not realize is the amount of money you need upfront. You’ll need money for an application fee, a security deposit, a pet deposit (if applicable), and first and last month’s rent. It’s wise to have a few months of expenses saved in the bank before starting your search for a townhome or apartment for rent.

Besides the upfront costs, there are long-term costs to consider, besides your monthly rent payment. For example, you may still have to pay for electricity, internet, cable tv, and even utilities like water, sewer, and trash. Every property and owner are different, though some may include these costs in your rent. It’s always best to get the details ahead of time to know what you are responsible for paying.

Is Renting Worth It?

Renting can be worth it, especially if you choose one of our townhomes in Hanover, PA. Renting allows you to begin your life without being tied to one area. After your lease is over, you can choose to renew it or move somewhere else. Many places also provide basic appliances such as a stove, refrigerators, and dishwashers.

Renting is ideal if you are in debt and cannot afford to buy a house, are just starting your adult life, or divorcing and starting over. It gives you time to decide what you want—and don’t want—and can provide the buffer you need to start saving for your future.

Apply for Your First Townhome or Apartment for Rent Now!

Whether you’re looking to rent in Hanover, Harrisburg, York, New Freedom, Red Lion or Gettysburg, PA, Granby, CT, or Beckington, NC, we have a property for you! Renting with Burkentine Rentals is different. You can take advantage of some great amenities, such as an electric stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, washer and dryer hookups, central air conditioning, and more. Our rentals are all state of the art and feature plenty of square footage to grow in.

If you’re looking for your first townhome or apartment for rent, check out our community map, which lists all our home communities. Then get in touch with us to schedule your tour! We can’t wait to welcome you home!