Renting an apartment is a sound idea for young people who have a decent job, but are not ready to buy a home yet; however, renting can sometimes be a lengthy and nerve-racking process. It requires proper planning and research to find an apartment that will suit your needs and be cost-effective. You will most likely have to spend a lot of time and effort in your search. The following are several tips that can make the process of renting an apartment easier.

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1. Decide on the length of time you plan to rent the apartment. Usually, real estate agents do not issue legal contracts for a period of time shorter than six months for an apartment or one year for houses.

2. The next important step is to determine how much money you can afford to pay monthly for an apartment. Most financial experts claim the rent should not be more than 30% of your monthly income. Remember, no matter what, you must be able to pay your rent regularly; delayed payments will not speak well in your favor.

3. Determine your needs. Before starting to search for an apartment, clarify what your requirements will be for your living space—amenities such as square footage, number of bathrooms or bedrooms, a separate kitchen or studio—think about these features, and then decide exactly what you need. Keep your ideal monthly rent in mind. Location is also important. If you do not know the neighborhood, you might want to ask your friends or people you know about its safety, transportation, and so on.

4. Gather all the documents that will support your ability to pay for the apartment. Usually, a verification of employment and paycheck stubs are enough. Also, prepare your rental history. Provide the names of some of your previous landlords. If you are renting an apartment for the first time, provide some references that will speak in favor of your dependability, including at least one professional reference.

5. Browse the Internet, monitor rental magazines or brochures about real estate, or ask your friends and colleagues whether they know someone who has an apartment for rent. A sound idea would be to make an acquaintance with several real estate agents. They can call you if they find a living space that matches your requirements.

6. When you find a suitable apartment, tour it with the property owner or a real estate agent. Pay attention to possible damages or defects; take notes on everything you notice. It may be prudent to take pictures of the apartment. If you decide to rent it, be sure to include all the defects in the rental contract so you do not have to pay for them later.

7. Before signing the leasing contract, carefully read it from cover-to-cover. Check whether all terms and conditions correspond with those that have been negotiated; look for vague terms that might allow your landlord to change the rental conditions without prior notice, such as raising the rental payment or acting in a way that would infringe on your rights as a renter.

8. Give the contract to your attorney, or a competent friend, and ask them to check it for you. After you make sure everything is all right, sign it, and prepare to move into your new apartment.

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