If you are about to start apartment hunting for the first time, there are five things you should know:

Be Realistic
When people begin to shop for their dream home, they quickly find out there are going to be a number of compromises they have to make. The same thing applies when apartment hunting. It is better to be realistic and keep an open mind when looking at apartments. Instead of looking at cosmetic issues, look for main features such as cleanliness, a well-kept building, security and space. You might not have the configuration you want, the bathroom might be dated or the bedroom might be smaller than you had hoped, but more than anything you want an apartment that is safe and clean. If it is a little outside of your ideal neighbourhood or has an ugly light fixture in the dining room, these things are not as bad as a poorly maintained building or an unsafe area.

Save
Don’t start apartment hunting until you know that you are financially prepared. You will need first and last month’s rent so it’s going to be expensive initially. You want to be able to hand over a cheque as well as show you are financially able to pay your rent. There will also be moving expenses such as van rentals and the cost of setting up a house such as drapes, kitchen utensils, towels and bed linens.

Insurance
Many first time renters forget about insurance. Renter’s insurance is a must. Should there be a fire or a break in, your damages will not be covered by your landlord. Factor this into your overall budget.

Expenses
Make sure you consider all of your expenses before you sign a lease. Now that you are living on your own, you will be faced with other expenses such as a phone bill, transportation, etc. All of these costs must be factored into your overall budget. Make sure you understand what is included in your rent (such as utilities) so you understand how much you will be paying on top of your rental fees.

Missed Details
As a first time renter, there will be a few things you are bound to forget while apartment hunting. You can make a list of important items to check for in order to assist you, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss something. This will help you learn for your next apartment.

These five tips will help make your first move easier.