Budget Tips for Tenants When Leasing Your First Rental Home

You’ve picked your ideal rental home and informed your parents they can finally turn your childhood bedroom into that yoga room they always wanted. After living in college housing, staying with friends for family, the budgeting for a first rental home might seem a little convoluted. Maybe your parents handled the utility bills. Maybe you split the cable bill with your friend. When leasing your first place, it’s important to work out a monthly expense checklist. Budgeting for a new place includes one-time expenses such as moving and decorating as well as regular monthly expenses including utilities and cable. Talk to your property manager if you aren’t sure who pays for certain costs such as trash pick-up or lawn maintenance. Internet and cable are often included in the monthly rent, but not always. Before moving into your rental, pick up basics such as cleaning supplies, soap, personal hygiene items and food staples. Before signing the lease, you likely worked out the basics in terms of how much rent you could afford. Now that you are leasing your first place, review your monthly bills and regular expenses.

The monthly rent

Your biggest monthly expense is the rent. If your heating and cooling costs surpass your rent costs, it’s a major red flag that there is a faulty A/U unit so talk to your property manager about fixing the situation. In general, your primary expense is the rent itself. Find out how to pay online and avoid any late fees. By paying on time, you build a solid reputation as a credit worthy individual.

The utilities

Some of the standard utilities include water, electricity, gas, air-conditioning and cable/Internet. Most people don’t have a land line in their rental home, although some do. Include your smart phone in your monthly budget unless you use one provided by your workplace. Figure out ways to lower your utility costs by unplugging appliances and computers when not in use. Never leave a television on just for background noise. Limit time spent showering or running water. Not only is it better for the environment when you conserve energy and water, but it’s better or your budget when leasing a home.

Renter’s insurance

It’s fairly inexpensive to get a renter’s insurance policy to protect your possessions in case of fire, theft, flood and natural disasters. Your property manager will likely offer tips about whether they require renter’s insurance. Also, ask them to point you in the right direction for insurance providers.

Your debt and loans

After figuring your housing costs as a rental, determine how much you owe for college loans, credit card debt, car loans and other loans. Most fiscally responsible young adults pay at least the minimum on debt before budgeting for entertainment, eating out and gym memberships. Other necessities that you can’t typically avoid include transportation costs whether you own a car, take Uber or public transportation.

To save money, consider shopping thrift shops and yard sales to furnish your new rental home. If you fall short with your budget, consider creative ways to earn extra money with side gigs. Before renting out a room, check with your property manager to find out if you can add another person to the lease to help you pay the rent. By working with a friendly and flexibly property management company, you enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle as a renter while saving up for the future.

At HomeTeam Property Management, we match aspiring tenants with rental homes that fall within their budgets. Tenants love receiving prompt and courteous service for any of their maintenance requests. We also help investment property owners market and lease their rental homes in San Diego County. For more information on our property management services and leasing opportunities, please contact us today.

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