Be a successful renter (not just a renter)
We live in the era when mortgage payments are replaced by rent checks. Millennials don’t seem to buy into the trend of buying a house. The Census Bureau recently reported that homeownership of Americans ages 25 to 34 has declined nearly 8 percent since 2006. Even though, at a first sight, this victory of renting over owning an apartment seems to be related to money and the recovering economy, there might be other reasons behind the trend.
- Multitude of Amenities
The new apartment communities offer free amenities that would be costly for homeowners. Think of the gyms and movie screening rooms, of the concierge service and electric car charging ports, of the all-areas cell phone reception (including the underground garage) – a necessity to Millennials who don’t rely as much on landlines anymore.
- A deeper Sense of Community
Millennials are drawn to the community and shared spaces in apartment buildings. With limited budgets in urban areas and in places where studio apartments can be smaller than 400 square feet, the young renters enjoy common kitchens and coffee bars, the libraries and recreation rooms.
A single-family home is a path to putting an end to noisy neighbors on the other side of the wall or ceiling; renting enables the possibility to leave behind troublesome places.
- Less Debt
Probably the most obvious reason millennials choose renting over owning is the crippling debt many are burdened with in their early 20s. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, 7 in 10 college students who graduated in 2013 have student loan debt. The average amount is a staggering $29,400, and this is just the average, many others graduate even deeper in the hole. Furthermore, the amount of student loan debt has increased an average of 6 percent per year since 2008, and by the look of the figures, there isn’t a sign of the trend stopping anytime soon.
Renting is a difficult dance, but once you know the steps, the movement feels much fluent. Here are the fundamental steps, you can improvise around them:
- Read the Lease
Read carefully because skimming through the contract won’t be enough. The form may appear to be standard, but you never know what has been added or removed unless you read every word. Do not assume the meaning of unclear terminology; get clarification before you give your signature. If you feel that there are things that should be included, but aren’t, don’t be scared and ask for it to be added. Think about the headaches you can avoid later by investing a bit more time now.
- Take Photos
Usually the renter gives you a tour of the property and most of the renters are satisfied with that. Be smart and besides noting anything amiss on your lease, take dated photos. This is a smart move not only for the moving day, but for later in the lease as well: maintenance problem – photos, infestation – photos, etc. A visual note of your time in the rented apartment is more than a memory, is a proof.
- Write it down
Besides the lease you might have to deal with other people than your landlord. If you have an agreement with a roommate or a sublease tenant write it down and have it dated and signed by both parties.
- Personalize the Space – with Permission
Don’t get stuck thinking that a rental is temporary; you live there, so express your design vision. Waiting for that mythical day when you can really decorate will only kill the joy out of your present day. Time spent personalizing any home is not time wasted because it will make you happier every day.
- Don’t Hold on, Move on
Remember the greatest advantage of renting: flexibility. Moving is not the most exciting adventure, but neither is living in a rental that’s not the right one for you. Whatever reason you have that’s making you want to leave, leave, move on.
- Renter’s Insurance
As homeowner, you’d pay religiously your home insurance because you know the much needed benefits it brings with it. The renter status doesn’t mean that you have to live in fear that your belongings could be destroyed or that you might be held liable for mishaps taking place on your perimeter (people getting injured or Fido not being friendly); of course, this means that the renter status is not absolved from insurance, the good part is that renter’s insurance is far from being expensive. Take a look at Resident Shield’s offer, you might be pleasantly surprised.