For those first time renters considering apartments for rent in Windsor Ontario, it’s important to avoid the following mistakes that we see so often in the real estate industry. Whether you are moving from your parent’s house or even a seasoned renter, tenants need to understand that missteps can occur if you don’t pay attention.
1. Not understanding the full costs:
How much can you afford to spend on an apartment? And remember, it’s not just the monthly rent, but also fees that go along with it, such as application fee, security deposit, deposit for utilities, fees for any pets you may have, and of course costs to set up the apartment in case you need furnishings, moving, etc. While the first month is usually the most expensive, you will need to remember the monthly bills, such as gas, electricity, garbage and water fees. Also, cable, internet, food, entertainment and other bills you have incurred.
2. Not understanding what you need v. what you want.
I tell every client that walks into my door looking for a home to write a “wish list” and a “want list” before looking at properties. What is it they absolutely MUST have and what the would LIKE to have. I say the same thing to those renting an apartment. Write down all of your needs. For example, maybe you must be near public transportation or your work. Then, write down what you would like to have. Maybe this is a gym or a swimming pool, but it won’t be a deal breaker if your apartment doesn’t come with one. Once you have this list, then you will know what you can overlook and what you must have before you sign a lease.
3. Not viewing the apartment before moving in:
It’s always a good idea to walk through the apartment before the moving van loads up your belongings. And don’t forget to bring a measuring tape! Why? It’s surprising how many couches or oversized furniture will not fit in the doorways! And certainly, this is a good time to make sure everything works properly. Flush the toilets, check the water pressure, turn the lights on and make sure everything else is working properly. Also, inspect for damage. Is there a stain on the carpet? Is a wall scratched? Write down everything, take pictures with your cellphone and report immediately to the landlord before any furniture is moved in.
4. Not reading the lease!
Some leases can be the size of a small novel, while others are relatively short, however, it is imperative that you read it carefully before signing. If possible, take it home and review so if you have any questions, they can be promptly answered. You will want to see when rent is due, the late fee charges, owning pets, what utilities are included, giving notice, having roommates, among other issues.
5. Going without renter’s insurance!
Can you pay to replace everything in your apartment if there is a fire or robbery? Some first time renters look around the used furniture they own and the mismatched dishes, but what about your computer? Television? Clothing? Renters insurance is a bargain and something every renter should have. In fact, most apartments require this before a tenant moves in.
6. Not turning on utilities:
Believe it or not, this has been done! Renters will assume that the landlord is responsible for the utilities or trash pick-up. Before you move in, confirm what is provided and what you must set up and pay for. Call the companies well in advance, particularly with cable if a home is not pre-wired.
7. Not doing the research!
When you find an apartment that you like, drive around at various hours during the day and evening. Is the apartment noisy at night? Is the gym crowded on weekends? How are the neighbours? Is the landscaping well-kept? Go online and see if there are any reviews from satisfied or dissatisfied tenants. You will also want to know if repairs are made quickly as well. Never hesitate to ask questions because once you sign the lease, you are responsible for making timely payments.