If you are interested in renting an apartment in Garner, NC, there are some steps to take and some things to consider first.
1. Figure out your housing budget.
Knowing your bottom-line rental costs is a good jumping-off point for your hunt. It will help you determine the type of place you should look for.
You shouldn't spend more than one-third of your take-home pay on rent. But if you live in a high-cost area, housing might have to occupy a bigger slice of your budget.
Also, be sure to budget for utilities. You can check with your area's utility companies to get cost estimates based on zip code. And while you're shopping, ask the landlord if utilities are included in the rent. If not, ask how much you can expect to pay for them each month.
Don't forget renter's insurance, which helps protect your belongings in the event of theft, fire or other disaster. Your belongings are not covered under your landlord’s policy. Buying your renter's policy from the same company as your car insurance policy can cut down on costs, too.
2. What is a “must-have”.
Make a list of what you really need versus what you want, and figure out how each item will affect your bottom line. Some things that might fall in the "must have" category: safety of the neighborhood, extra living space, parking or accessibility to public transportation and major roads. If you are new to the area, keep in mind that apartments with amenities make it easier to meet people.
3. Start your search online.
Now that you know how much you can afford and what you're looking for in a home, start your search. Check out apartments online, check out reviews. Many cities have apartment-finder services. You can also get started by utilizing friends, friends-of-friends, alumni networks and social media, by putting the message out there that you are on the lookout for a new place.