You might be mentally ready to move out of your parents' home, but there are renting costs that might surprise you. If you're in your late teens or early 20s, being independent and supporting yourself might be a goal. Maybe you're attending college in a different city and want to live off-campus. Or maybe you recently graduated from college and ready to be your own person. Whatever the reason, renting a house or apartment can provide the freedom you desire. However, there are seven renting costs that might surprise you.
When considering renting costs, understand that utilities aren’t always included in the rent payment. Some landlords charge a flat rate which includes electricity and water, whereas other landlords require tenant to pay their own utilities. But even if utilities are included, you’ll have to pay your own cable and telephone expenses. Therefore, include these costs when determining if you can afford a specific rental.
Renter’s insurance is optional in some apartment complexes. But even if your landlord doesn't require this coverage, you need to protect your belongings. In the event of theft or fire, renter’s insurance covers the cost to replace your possessions. Fortunately, this coverage is relatively cheap, and you can get a policy up to $100,000 for around $20 a month.
Before signing your rental agreement, schedule a walkthrough with your landlord. Document any damages to the unit, such as stains on the carpet, broken appliances and other damages. If these items are not documented, your landlord may conclude that you're responsible once you decide to move out. And if you're responsible, you’ll have to pay to fix these items or else lose your security deposit.
Also, before leasing an apartment, make sure you have good cell service in the unit. Unfortunately, bad reception at home is not grounds for terminating a cell phone contract. If unable to use your cell phone in the apartment — and you plan to switch service providers — you may have to pay an early termination fee with your current provider, which can be as high as $350.
If you're renting in a suburban area, parking is likely included with your lease. But if you're renting in the city, don't assume the landlord offers free parking. Often times, parking is limited. In this case, landlords may charge an additional monthly fee for one or two parking spaces. If you have a vehicle, inquire about the parking situation.
If you're moving into an apartment, the complex handles the outside maintenance. But if you're renting a house or condo, your landlord may require that you maintain the front or backyard. Therefore, you may have to spend money on equipment, such as a lawn mower, an edger, rakes and other supplies.
You might find a rental that’s under budget, but if your new home is located far from your school or work, the longer commute might cancel out any savings. Before signing the lease, estimate your new transportation costs to determine whether moving into a specific rental makes financial sense.
Renting is a wonderful option if you're not ready to buy a house, or if you're not interested in owning your own place. But renting costs can add up quickly, so it's important to do the math and find a place that fits your budget. What are other surprising rental costs?