A place of your own

If you want to rent an apartment by yourself or with roommates, here are the steps to success.

Set a rent maximum
A calculatorKnow how much you can afford to spend on rent. A general guideline is that housing shouldn’t exceed 32% of your gross salary (the total amount of your paycheck before taxes and other deductions).

Target neighborhoods
A man and child walking in an urban neighborhood.Consider how close the location is to your job or school, access to transportation, shopping, and entertainment, and neighborhood safety and livability — while keeping your rent within your budget.

Shop around
A sign that says: “Apartments for rent.”Read apartment ads. Visit the neighborhoods that interest you. Look for For Rent signs. See as many apartments as you can. Make comparisons.

Qualify credit-wise
A thumb and a forefinger making the “OK” sign.Almost all landlords will do what’s called a credit check to see what your history has been as a money manager and decide if they can trust you to pay your rent on a steady basis.

Read the lease
A young man sitting on stairs reading through a lease.In almost all cases, the owner or the apartment manager will ask you to sign a written contract called a lease. It’s extremely important to read and understand the lease before you sign.

See the topic All About Credit to learn a lot more about what credit is and how to establish and maintain good credit.

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