Smart City Work Diaries – Meet Shelby

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Shelby Wofford Smart City Locating Houston Texas
Smart City Work Diaries – Meet Shelby
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When do I start my apartment search? What questions should I be asking? What exactly qualifies as a good deal? These are legit questions concerning apartment hunting. There's so much that goes into finding a place to call home (at least for a year) and sometimes those little things can slip through the cracks and come back to bite you in the butt later. Whether you’re a first time renter or an all time pro, renting can be tedious, overwhelming and just plain annoying, but we’re here to help! Our Ultimate Guide to Renting is broken down into easy to read sections, especially for the skimmers (you know who you are), and covers everything from pre-search prep to move in day! So, sit back, grab a snack and let’s kick some rental ass! 01. Prep Work Before you deep dive into the abyss of internet apartment searches and start scheduling tours, you need to figure a few things out first: Your budget: What can you comfortably afford with your current income? Apartment complexes typically require that you (or the combined household) make an annual income of 3x the monthly rent. But we gotta go a little further and ask that even if you qualify, would spending $1600 on rent every month starve you to death? ...we’re not into that. The size of the apartment: One, two, three bedrooms? Figuring out what size apartment to rent depends greatly on your needs, your lifestyle and how many people will be living there. Roommates: Living alone or sharing your space? Having a roommate(s) comes with its perks, like splitting the cost of rent and utilities, but sharing a living space isn’t right for everyone. Figure out if getting a roommate would benefit everyone’s financial AND emotional wellbeing, if you’re capable of being a good roommate (not everyone is and that’s okay, too) and if you know where to find one! Location: Which neighborhood fits your lifestyle? Where you live has a huge impact on your life. Things to consider when determining a neighborhood that suits you are: How long it will take you to get to work. What you do for fun and where you spend most of your free time (at the gym, checking out live music, hitting up clubs, chowing down at restaurants, getting pretty neat with nature, etc.) and the proximity to those things.   Where your friends/significant other live. What kind of noise can and can’t you tolerate (traffic, nightlife, etc.)? Consider both what you do and don’t want out of a community because you’ll be married to it for about 12 months. Pets: Accommodating for a pet(s) or wanting to become a pet parent? Apartment properties have breed restrictions, weight limits, and fees specifically for pets. If you’re in love with your bff pitbull, that’s going to cross a number of properties off your list. You’ll need to take Spike out for a ton of walks, so maybe being on the top floor isn’t ideal. More into cats? Purrrfect, but how many are you willing to pay a monthly “pet rent” charge for? Be sure to consider your pet’s wellbeing in all of this. We’re not saying you can’t live in a studio apartment with a great dane, we’re just suggesting that you make sure he’s happy at home too! Alright, so you’ve gotten a pretty good understanding of your pre-search but we’ll go a little deeper for the detail oriented people (you also know who you are). Budget: Let's talk budget because this is one of the most important factors and, in our opinion, the very best place to start your apartment search. So what’s your max budget? As previously mentioned, this is not only what you qualify for, but also what you can truly and comfortably afford to pay every single month for the entirety of your lease--sadly, the two aren’t always the same. If you don’t already know (because who does), sit down and figure out exactly how much you can afford on rent with consideration to all other necessary costs like utilities, gas, car notes, groceries, etc. We’ve read that experts suggest housing costs be only 25-35% of your monthly income. A quick way to calculate this number is by taking your monthly net income (read: after taxes) and multiply it by either .25 or .35 and voila, a rental budget. But keep in mind that this rate might not be realistic for everyone, millennials especially because finding an apartment you love for 25% of a $3000 monthly income would be uh... tough! That said, we don’t condone living wildly above your means either. Spending your entire income on rent and then struggling to manage a balanced, enjoyable life is not cute and/or healthy. In our opinion, being honest with yourself about what you can and can’t afford is more important than what percentage any expert suggests. PRO TIP: create a spreadsheet and note your monthly income and expenses, then allocate rental and spending budgets from the remaining amount. You’ll thank us later. One way renting your dream apartment can become more affordable is by scoring a rent concession! What the heck is that? It’s a win, win! When a property is working extra hard to lease up their units, it’s not uncommon for them to offer rent specials and discounts, which means you can score a more expensive apartment at an affordable rate *the coupon clippers in all of us rejoice*! But, what’s the fine print? Is it prorated for you (wtf does prorated even mean?) or is it an upfront credit that you’ll need to save yourself and delegate throughout your lease term? Photo Source That all depends on what type of concession the properties are blessing you with, but to help you understand the different types of savings and how to apply them, here is a very useful article on specials, concessions and self-prorating. When talking specials, here’s some need to know terminology: Market Rate: Is the price of a unit (or set of units) before any specials, concessions, or discounts are accounted for. It is the price that the market says a unit is “worth” and it changes all the time. Effective Rent aka
The Ultimate Guide To Renting
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