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Ask an Intern: Your First Place

pexels-kindel-media-7579192For young professionals, renting your first house, apartment, or duplex can seem very intimidating and a big responsibility to uphold. There is a lot that goes into the renting process that you may not realize, such as, choosing what type of housing you want, where it is located, and what the landlord does or doesn’t provide. The place you call home is a large investment with an outlay of payments that can become costly and out of budget quickly if not thought through in its entirety.


No matter where you choose to live, you'll want to keep security top of mind. Is the neighborhood safe? Is it a high traffic or high crime area? Is it residential only or close to businesses? The convenience of your new residence is important too. How far away is it from your workplace or college? Your distance from those spaces can help you determine your daily convenience and factor in your gas mileage when budgeting each month.

Realizing the commitment you are making to a lease is key. Read it thoroughly to know what is expected of you and what your landlord is going to provide. There can be many small issues or emergencies that occur throughout your time in a rental property, so make sure you have a dedicated landlord who is always taking care of home maintenance as needs arise.

Know when your lease ends and be sure you are willing to meet the monthly payments through the length of your obligation. After the lease is signed, you are legally and contractually bound. Do your research if you want to move before your lease is expired and don't forget to submit your intent to vacate the premises within the terms of your lease.

Living in a Home

If you choose a house to rent, consider the pros and cons. A home usually provides enough room for your own personal, quiet space. Larger bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms are some of the main features that draw people in. There are no neighbors connected directly to your space, so noise levels are less likely to interfere with your home environment.

The downsides to renting a home can be the extra fees that may not be included in your rent payments each month. Most landlords will require that you set up your own account for utilities, Wi-Fi, and lawn services to name a few. This can become costly depending on which plans you choose and how many people are sharing the costs.    

When looking for a home to rent, keep in mind that older homes may have heating and air systems that are outdated or a foundation that may not be insulated properly, which can result in higher utility bills. Other issues with older homes might be poor ventilation that can result in damp air or even mold. These environmental issues can create health risks and should be addressed immediately.

Living in an Apartment

Living in an apartment can provide  a lot of services that are often included with the total cost of rent, such as Wi-Fi and utilities. Some apartment complexes come completely furnished, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Included utilities are a great way to have a steady budget, because you can use your utilities as much you want and however you wish.

Apartment security and safety is another positive feature that appeals to many people, especially young tenants. Gated apartments are popular right now, because a code or sensor key is required to enter any part of the property. Many apartment complexes offer security officers as an enhanced service.

Apartments can be a great option whether you plan to live alone or with a roommate. Units can provide space for 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms, but additional space is rare to find. Smaller living spaces deter some people from choosing apartments, but the benefits might outweigh your concerns.

However, apartment living often comes with parking woes. Parking garages are becoming increasingly popular at complexes, as are larger parking lots in general.  This may require you to park further away from your apartment. Consider how far you would have to park when making a decision. How would this affect bringing in groceries or making trips to your vehicle at odd hours? Proximity is not a necessity for most, but something to keep in mind.

Whether you choose to rent a house or an apartment, think of all the questions and concerns you may have about the property and ask the landlord before your commit. It's crucial to be sure a property offers everything you need before you commit.

Cost of Living

Bills:  After deciding on your housing and filling out the paperwork for your lease, the next step is to prepare for expenses associated with your household. When establishing utilities, you will have to put them in one person’s name. So, if you live with more than one person, you will have to decide who is responsible for the utilities each month. Accounts are usually established with your city’s utilities department. You will need to bring personal information like a social security card, driver’s license, and your lease. Be prepared to bring a deposit to establish your account. This deposit is typically returned to you when you move out of the home in the future.

In most areas, you can have your utility bill mailed to you or choose an online bill delivered through text or email. This will have to be set up on your online account if you choose the latter. Each month, you will receive a bill that comes with the total amount and a breakdown of usage and costs (water, heating, air, and garbage service). This can help you see exactly where you may need to cut back.

Wi-Fi and lawn services are two more bills that may need to be set up. If you are sharing a space with roommates, there are great cash apps available to easily divide and receive joint costs. Bank Independent offers Zelle, a quick and easy way to send and receive money from trusted sources. 

Late Fees:  Sometimes under unexpected circumstances you may miss your rent due date. Depending on your lease, late fees can be dealt with differently. If you forget to pay your rent and are late for a certain amount of days, there may be a late fee tacked on to your next payment or it might be deducted from your original deposit. You can help prevent late fees by setting up reminders each month on the exact day that your rent is due.

Renters Insurance:  When living with roommates, or even by yourself, renters’ insurance may be something you should consider. It will compensate you for damages or theft within your property, as well as protecting you from costly accidents that could happen. For example, in case of an accidental fire, the landlord’s policy would cover their property and building, but not the individual renter’s personal property. Insurance would help you replace any of your items that were ruined. If you're in college, you may be covered under your parent's insurance policy. Be sure to check with your parents and their insurance agent to be sure.

Pet Policies:  If you want to bring your furry friends along to your new housing, you must to look into pet policies. The policies can vary based on the type of housing you choose. Pet policies can determine if pets are allowed and if so, what breeds and sizes are acceptable. The policy could be accompanied by a monthly pet fee or a deposit that is added on your rent amount each month. Policies should be followed, because fines and legal actions can be taken against you if you disregard the policy.

Budgeting-We’ve Got You Covered

Budgeting for the first time can seem overwhelming when your bills start to add up. Here at Bank Independent, we have account features that can make it easier for you. Save for your expected costs each month with a savings account. Don't have one yet?  Start out with small steps.  Smart Swipe is a simple savings program, where every transaction will round to the next dollar, and the difference is moved to a savings account. It is a smart way to build your savings with your everyday spend.

Bank Independent can help you set up recurring payments and bill pay through your checking or savings account. Each month, an automatic payment pulls from your account, and you can receive your notification by text or email.

It’s exciting to experience the independence that comes along with moving into your first rented house or apartment. Being wise and observant of the details will set you up for a positive experience.

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Bank Independent does not endorse, nor is responsible for the content in the linked 3rd party websites. Bank Independent's privacy policies do not apply to these linked websites.