When it comes to locating an apartment in the Lexington area of Kentucky, there are many factors that one must take into account in order to find the best community to call home.
Below are the top 15 questions most renters ask themselves when searching for an apartment.
Before you start your apartment search, you need to know your budget. This is not what you feel you can afford but what you can really afford. Think like you are a leasing company and follow the same rules they follow. Use the 30% rule. For example, if you make $4,000 a month, then ($4,000/30% = $1,200) means you should safely be able to afford an apartment with a monthly rent of $1,200. Most landlords require their tenants to make at least x3 their monthly rent, so just follow the 30% rule and you should be good to go! Try the rent calculator for yourself.
The cost of living in Lexington is, on average, 74.04% lower than in New York. So if you are seeking to save money, you came to the right place! Remember, there will be other costs associated with your new apartment such as application fees, security deposits and if you have pets, there most-likely there will be a pet deposit and of course the cost of moving itself.
Don't forget, you could have deposits with utility companies as well you have to take into account. Try your best to plan ahead to start saving, but also shop around! Don’t rush into the first apartment you find, you may find one that offers more amenities and fits more within your budget.
After you get all moved in and unpacked, there will be more expenses besides the monthly rent you need to be aware of. Just like in any apartment or home being rented in America, you can expect to pay:
Some apartments offer utilities included in the rent but always budget with these expenses in mind. It’s better to over budget than to under budget.
Depending on the time of year, your utilities can vary drastically. One solution you can ask the utility companies such as gas and electric is to see if they offer balance billing. The method behind this is to take the past 12 months' bills for that location and divide it by 12 so you have equal payments each month no matter how much or little you use. At the end of the year, you will get the credit or a bill for the difference if there is any, but in most cases, it’s very close.
As a first time renter, you might have to provide a cosigner to guarantee your apartment lease. A co-signer is basically someone who goes on the application with you and agrees to pay the rent if you cannot make the payments.
Remember all that the landlord wants is a tenant who will consistently pay their rent without many issues. Having a co-signer normally acts as another way to get the rent if you were not able to pay it. Most of the time, people think of a co-signer is a relative such as a mom or a dad, but a roommate or a spouse can also be considered as a co-signer.
Cons of a co-signer:
This is the million-dollar question. Do you have an idea of how long you might need to stay? Typically, the longer you stay the cheaper it in some cases. Apartments normally want people to stay for at least 1 year but some offer higher rates for lower terms such as a 6-month lease term. Certain apartments may offer a month-to-month agreement as well, but this is usually offered after a 12-month term in completed.
Remember, when reviewing your new apartment lease, you want to make sure you understand everything on the lease and if you don’t, you need to ask for clarification as the leasing agent should help you understand everything on there.
Lexington has some wet winters so location is key when living in this part of Kentucky. People want to be close to things that matter to them the most such as work, the stores, freeways, etc. Also if you don’t have a car, then you need a place that is close to public transportation systems such as the bus system and make sure companies such as UBER or LYFT are in your area.
When you find an apartment in the area of Lexington you like, you might want to drive around the area to see what is all there and if you can see driving in that area for the next year or two as you move to your new local community.
What to look for in the neighborhood:
The best thing to do is to make a list of amenities you can't live without in your apartment. Do you need a pet park, an on-site workout area, or an elevator instead of stairs? This will help you cross off apartments that don't meet your personal requirements and help you narrow down your search. Though usually places with a long list of amenities will cost you more per month, so sometimes you may have to sacrifice luxury for affordability.
Popular amenities to search for:
Do you have a dog or cat? If that is the case, you will simply have to search for your apartment in the Lexington area based on pet policies. Not all apartment communities are the same. Some allow large dogs and some don't. It's important for you to call in advance or look on their website to find out their policy on pets. Most apartments require an additional monthly deposit for pets and some have breed restrictions based on location.
When it comes to deciding on a roommate, there are a few things you need to keep in mind, here are some of the pros of having a roommate:
Some of the cons of living with a roommate:
Just like having a CV when doing a job search, you need to have a renter's resume. This would typically include all of the information to make you stand out from other applications. You would also be best served to share all the dates of the last 2-3 years of where you lived and the contact info for any prior landlords.
If you’re a first-time renter and are not applicable for a rental resume don’t worry! Many applications ask for previous residencies directly on the application. And while a rental resume is a great way to make you stand out from the competition, it’s usually not a requirement.
Many landlords and property managers look at credit and require it on your rental application. If you’re a first-time renter, this is where having a co-signer will help you. Though credit is not a defining factor in rental applications, most applicants that are accepted have good credit. Most apartments will be transparent in the credit requirements to apply. If you don’t see a number listed, don’t be afraid to ask the property manager! They want to fill the apartment and they are there to answer your questions.
Most rental applications require the last two paystubs from your employer to prove that you are able to afford to pay their rent. This gives them peace of mind that you are qualified to become one of their tenants. If you are moving to the city or are in-between jobs, it might be a good idea to have a co-signer. Remember, each property has it's own requirements when it comes to income verification so please check with the property as to what is required.
There are a few things to consider when looking at where the apartment is located in the building's floor plan. Do you need to be close to an elevator? Will your couch be able to fit through the doorway? But the bigger question is what is the difference living on the first floor versus the top floor?
On your tour of the apartment, if the current apartment renters are not on-site, try to talk to another tenant if you see one. You can ask them questions about the landlord, the other neighbors (some people like to throw parties or have to work 3rd shifts), and just in general how they’ve liked living there. You might be surprised by what people may have experienced!
Always schedule an in-person tour of the apartment you’re looking to rent. If you’re not in the city, try to at least do a virtual tour. This is the place you’re going to be living.
Usually, when people tour an apartment, they do it to get a feel for living there. Try to imagine you cooking Sunday brunch, or lounging on the couch after a long day of work. There are some things that you should look out for, even if the apartment is newly renovated:
Take pictures of everything! This is a good way to go back and remind yourself if you’re shopping around for apartments, but it’s also good to take pictures of how the apartment looked like before you move in to dispute any issues that may happen if you have to move out.