Getting a first apartment is extremely exciting. However, some people learn lessons about renting the hard way. Make the experience as wonderful as possible by taking the proper precautions and getting educated. Here are some tips for first-time renters finding a place to live.

1. Be financially ready

Getting into your first place can be a lot of work. You need to get together your financial statements from work. The process will be quite a bit of money. You need to be prepared for all of the expenses coming your way. First, you are going to have to pay a security deposit. The security deposit will be one of the largest expenses. Expect to pay at least first and last month’s rent. You’ll also need to schedule electric, energy, water, cable, and internet. Most of those bills require an initial payment. You’ll also have to buy any furniture or supplies you need.

2. Research different leasing companies

If you want a good experience at your first apartment, you want to do business with a good leasing company. Whether it’s St. Louis property management companies or property management services in other cities, do your research to know you’re making the right decision. Read reviews and talk to other people in the area to learn about their experiences with different leasing companies. Things you should ask about include how quickly they do repairs, move out policies, and other rules. You don’t only want a leasing company with great reviews. You want a leasing company that will fit your lifestyle.

3. Always look at the place yourself

You would be amazed at how many people will get an apartment without looking at the place for themselves first. Take the time to visit your potential apartment. Even an apartment that looks great on paper can be awful when you see it in person. Go look for yourself. Get a sense of whether or not it’ll be a place where you can relax after a hard day’s work. Take note of any potential problems that may arise.

4. Take pictures of everything

You want to take pictures of several key parts of the dwelling when you move in. This becomes important when you move out. You don’t want to be made responsible for any damage to the apartment before you moved in. Save all pictures to a backup drive so they will be safe for a year. When you move in, you will have the option to write down all the existing damage. Be sure that you record all damage in detail.

5. Location is everything

You want your apartment to be in a good location. That means you want it to be close to your work, friends, and family. You also want it to be in a location with plenty to do and see. Look into the food, restaurants, and bars in the area. You also want to be in a safe location. For that reason, be sure to research your area to look up crime stats and other important information.

Your new apartment is the start of your independence. Getting yourself on the right foot will help set you up for success in your next apartments. It’s a learning experience that will teach you how to be independent and handle these things on your own. Now, you just have to pick the perfect decorations to make it feel like home.