We asked, and you answered!
We put a question out into the Facebook world to our followers: What’s the best advice you would give to first-time renters?
The answers we got were stellar, and very helpful for those who are setting out into the renting world for the first time. I’m sure that if we all had time machines we would make these decisions at the beginning of our renting lives, but if you’re reading this and have yet to set out into the world of renting, TAKE HEED! These are little gold nuggets of wisdom, brought to you by the genius followers of RentMoola’s Facebook page.
1. Get renter’s insurance! For those who don’t know, renter’s insurance is a written document detailing a policy which provides most of the benefits of homeowner’s insurance. Basically, renter’s can make annual or monthly payments which would cover their unit and many of the appliances in the event of something like a fire or a flood. I’ve personally lived in a townhouse complex that caught on fire, thankfully my unit was spared but another unit was completely destroyed and the tenants did not have renter’s insurance – these situations are what nightmares are made of, if you can avoid this tragic situation, do so! Check out our renters insurance here to learn more! Also, if you’re still wondering why you need renters insurance check our previous post here.
2. Learn the cost of utilities before you move in. This can sometimes be surprisingly high, depending on many things. Perhaps you’re moving into a unit that already has cable, and the package is a little more extravagant than you need. Or perhaps the building is older and uses more energy to operate certain appliances. Learn these things before you move in, if possible, see a copy of the utilities bill to make sure you’re getting all of the necessary information before you fork over the cash
3. Put money into savings from each paycheque incase of emergency (ex: losing a job) to get you by for 3-6 months. This one’s a biggy, and sometimes it’s difficult to plan for. But, truth is, things happen, and it’s good to have a safety net. In a perfect world, nothing would go wrong and you’d never need a safety net, but when you have one you’re glad you planned for it. So be responsible, make a budget and put a bit of money aside from each paycheque into an “emergency fund”. The nice part is, if you never use it, it’s just money in the bank!
4. Get everything in writing. These are sort of the situations that you wish you didn’t have to plan for, but the truth is, sometimes landlords make big promises to prospective tenants to fill their units. It’s important to keep them honest, and sometimes by asking for things in writing will scare them off – in which case, you don’t want to rent from them any way!
5. Choose your roommates wisely. It’s one of life’s many challenges, to find the perfect balance with another human being. There’s the complications of living with someone you’re already friends with, risking your relationship. Or living with a stranger, who perhaps isn’t everything you hoped they’d be. The important thing here is communication, if one of you is unhappy about something, not to let it fester and become bigger than the both of you. This does not mean writing angry letters on the bathroom door telling someone to pick up their towels, this means having adult conversations. Be up front, if they can’t handle it, then you should probably move on.
6. Save 10% more than you think you need. Sometimes bills fluctuate, it’s a fact of life. Some months you use more water or electricity than others, it may vary from season to season. Or some months you might go over you data plan on your phone. Whatever the case, plan for it. Plan to be broke, plan to be uncomfortable, and put money aside for it to soften the blow. When you check your credit card bill, don’t look at it and think “oh god I didn’t save enough for this!”, instead you should be thinking “thank god I put extra money aside for this.” Be financially wise.
7. Make sure the lease tells you how long it will take for something broken to be fixed. If you’re able to get something like this in writing you would be touched by a landlord angel! Mostly because these times tend to fluctuate depending on the severity of the issue, and some tenants can be without a fully functioning fridge for longer than they’d prefer. Be reasonable, don’t expect your landlord to come over to your home in the middle of the night for a leaky tap. But have something to keep your landlord accountable that if they can’t fix anything themselves, that they will hire a repair person as soon as possible.
8. Pay your rent on time! This seems like something that you shouldn’t have to be told to do, but you’d be surprised how often people will end up paying their rent on the second of the month. Whether they forgot, or they couldn’t track down their landlord in time – it doesn’t excuse anyone. Either set yourself up with RentMoola (for free) and set up recurring payments, so that you don’t even have to think about “that time of the month”, or set a reminder in your phone that tells you when rent is due, and send it a day in advance! Be the tenant that your landlord writes a glowing review for. That will go further than you think.
9. Treat your rental unit as if you owned it. Your rental unit is borrowed, not owned. You are the dweller, the temporary inhabitant, but that doesn’t mean you should treat it any less responsibly than you would if you owned it. Just like treating people the way you want to be treated, treat your home how you’d like to find it if you were apartment hunting. It also guarantees your damage deposit back, which is always a nice feeling.
10. Meet the neighbours. This one’s a little tricky, as it’s difficult to go door knocking saying “hi I might be moving in, but I might not, and I just wanted to make sure you weren’t a serial killer.” So, take the easy route and just ask the landlord questions about the building and the neighbourhood. Are there lots of families? Are there dogs in the building? Have noise complaints been an issue in the past? Things that can help you suss out your quality of life in your potential home can make life a lot easier in the future.
We offer unique insurance designed for renters specific needs with up to $100,000 in covered for your content, starting as low as $19/MO. Our insurance also includes coverage for your things even when you’re not home! Choose between $1M or $2M in liability coverage and optional extras to tailor the policy for your extra special items and unique needs. Go to rentmoola.com/insurance to learn more!