So you're ready to move into a new place and you think you've found the perfect apartment. All that's left is to sign the lease. But wait! Pause that pen and read through this post before you make any permanent marks.
What are you paying for? Be sure to check the apartment's website, paperwork, or ask your leasing agent what is included in your monthly rent. Does it include some or all of your utilities? Or will you need to pay for garbage, sewer, water, and power separately? Some apartments will even include renter's insurance in your monthly payment (If they don't, you may want to look into bundling that with your car insurance provider). Basically, make sure you know what you're getting for your money. A higher monthly rent might actually be worth it if it includes all your utilities, wifi, and more. Then again, your rent might only cover your apartment.
Are there amenities? You've probably read through the list of amenities available at the apartment you're considering, but it's important to make sure those amenities are actually useful to you. For example, if the apartment has a fitness center, but you're loyal to your gym, it's not much of a perk. On the other hand, if you're excited to use that fitness center, be sure to look at the times it's open. If it's only open during normal office hours, say 8:00 to 5:00, but you work all day, when will you be able to use it? Amenities are awesome, but they're only worth the cost if you'll actually benefit from them.
What if you need to break your lease early? Maybe you just got a great job, a raise, or were transferred and that's why you're getting ready to sign this lease. At the moment, you see yourself staying here for the full term, whether that's six months, a year, or maybe even 13 months. But let's be real--nothing in life is really guaranteed and things could change unexpectedly. You might find yourself needing to move before your lease is up. Even if that's not the plan, it's a good idea to talk to your leasing agent about the possibility of early termination and any associated fees--just in case.