Renting your first apartment is one of those big adult moments that most of us are totally unprepared for. I’ve lived in some pretty awful places in my time — and my mom has always complained bitterly that she wouldn’t have let me live there had she seen the place before I rented it. There was the one-bedroom in Boston with a crumbling kitchen and slanted floors, and a fourth-floor walk-up in Washington Heights where I was so excited by the idea of having a washer-dryer, I didn’t notice how gross the bathroom was (really gross). But I’ve loved all my apartments for one reason or another, even if they’re far from perfect. And I’ve been pretty lucky never to have a terrible landlord or crazy neighbors or roommates. That said, I’ve handed over large sums of money to relative strangers on the streets of NYC to secure a place, feeling pretty unsure that I wasn’t about to get totally screwed. I definitely could have been better prepared.
Ahead, Priya Malani
, Refinery29’s financial expert, and I have outlined everything we wish we had known about renting an apartment — from prepping the paperwork to making sure you have renter’s insurance (it’s so cheap, this is a MUST). Some of this info is pretty big-city specific (NYC might be one of the craziest places to try to rent an apartment), but regardless of where you live, it’s good advice to consider.
Moving is the worst. And the best. It can signal a fresh start or a devastating end. Whatever your style, wherever you settle, at the end of day, the most important thing is you find a place to call home. Check out more from our Get The F Out moving package here.