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Blog Feb 15, 2012

Things to Know Before Renting an Apartment

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Are you leaving home for the first time and looking for your own apartment? For those planning a move for sometime in the near future, there may be more to learn than is believed as everything from choosing a location to figuring out how to cut costs each month is valuable knowledge. While a number of resources typically have to be consulted for a complete understanding of all that renting an apartment entails, Payless Power, a low-income electric provider, can give you some money-saving tips and identify other useful things to know before renting an apartment for the first time. When it comes to these helpful pointers, something to remember is that one of the easiest ways to save money when renting is to live an energy-efficient lifestyle.

Before you sign that lease, consider these items:

Budget

Before you begin trying to find ways to save, you will want to devise a budget that helps you to strategize how to allocate your money and get a better sense for the kind of spending you should be doing. This process should begin by identifying the monthly cost of rent. Among other things, you must confirm that this is a value you can pay and one that does not come at a cost that cleans you out and prevents you from meeting your other financial obligations. You’ll also want to determine the cost of food, entertainment, and outline any possible unexpected expenses that could arise. Just as important as your spending when budgeting is your saving, so be sure to put aside a portion that is to be deposited within your emergency savings. This will help to protect you in case an unforeseen expense arises that is greater than your budget allows.

Check Out Your Landlord

Before you agree to rent an apartment, do your best to get a sense for what the landlord is like. Everything from their proximity to the apartment to their preferred method of communication in addition to what their expressed accessibility is. Though it may seem only a small detail in the grand scheme, a landlord’s willingness to accommodate a renter, their ability to be reached, in addition to their responsiveness to your needs can truly make or break an apartment experience. For insights into a possible landlord, you can consult sites online to find reviews from other tenants. You could even get a bit more proactive and see if you can reach out to current tenants for any insights they may be willing to provide.

Get a Sense For the Walls

When it comes to living in close proximity with others, noise always comes as a concern. Especially for apartments where you can be surrounded on nearly every side, taking a measured look at those shared walls is important for understanding what you are getting into. In visiting apartments, you are best served by identifying noisy buildings before making any agreements. Some landlords will even include a policy in the lease agreement that establishes quiet hours. This is great for keeping out unwanted noise, but it also means that you’ll have to be mindful of your volume as well. Still, in the event you find that your apartment is a bit noisier than you would like, you’ll need to have some methods for drowning out sounds. Using plants around your doors and windows can help to absorb some of the noise that tries to enter spaces. You can even install double pane windows to further reduce the noise that gets in from the outside.

Energy Star Lights

Energy Star products are appliances or devices that have been deemed by the Energy Star program to be capable of saving the environment and money because of their energy efficiency. This includes everything from refrigerators and washing machines to light bulbs. As the devices responsible for providing a constant glow in homes, one of the best places to start saving is on lights. Replace any old light bulbs and fixtures with Energy Star-qualified lights. They last 6 –10 times longer than standard light bulbs, and also use 75% less energy while providing high-quality light output. Among the best on the market are LED bulbs, which have additional benefits like improved performance in extreme temperatures. They do have a higher cost but they will save on energy. As an apartment renter, you may even be able to convince your landlord to cover the cost.

Efficient Air Conditioning

Just as with lights, the expense of running hot or cold air comes at a cost to renters. Something to note about heating and cooling is the fact that they make up the greatest energy costs within homes. Therefore, finding ways to be efficient with them can be helpful for saving each month. If you move into an apartment where central air conditioning is not provided, invest in an energy-efficient room air conditioner. Be sure the unit fits securely in the window frame and insulate/cover the unit during winter months. It is very important to also select a room air conditioner that is properly sized for the space as it will improve the efficiency of the appliance. And though it may seem like the correct notion, bigger is not always better when it comes to room air conditioning units. Check the features of the unit you’re considering purchasing and remember that you’ll want a conditioner that supplies 20 Btu for every square foot of living space.   

Programmable Thermostat

Something to keep an eye out for as you scan your new home is whether or not the thermostat in your apartment is a programmable one. If not, you can ask the landlord to replace it. Even if they refuse this idea, you can still offer to install one yourself. As the name would suggest, programmable thermostats work by allowing users to pre-select the temperature of their homes as well as the hour in which the device regulates the climate. A programmable thermostat with 4 temperature settings can save over $100 a year from your electric costs! The one caveat of the programmable thermostat is that if it is programmed incorrectly then it could cost you. To help with that, there are smart thermostats that go beyond the capabilities of programmable devices as they have the ability to learn. After gauging your behavior and temperature preferences, the smart thermostat can create a schedule that promotes a comfortable climate that is also cost-efficient.  

Clear Registers

Part of being efficient with energy is preventing your HVAC system from having to work harder than it needs to. One of the easiest methods for doing this is keeping furniture away from air registers so the heated or cooled air can circulate freely. When an outside object obstructs the air’s pathway, pressure will gradually build as the system will continue to supply air at a steady rate. If that pressure is able to build up enough, it could cause damage. And every time the registers are blocked, the system must work harder to pull air inside and then release it. As a result, more energy will be used in the process which will gradually wear out the system. While you’re getting your things unpacked and settling into your new place, be sure to check that you aren’t putting rugs, furniture, or even drapes in a place that could make it more difficult for the registers to supply the apartment with air.

Using Windows

Rays of sunlight enter apartments through windows and bring with them bright light and heat. While it is easy for renters to immediately formulate ways to minimize this effect within their new homes, it is better still to use that to your advantage. During the winter months, leave the drapes open to let the warm rays of the sun in. Not only will this help to warm things up without requiring the use of energy, it further helps renters to save on lighting as they can refrain from turning on lights. Conversely, close the drapes to keep the room cool during the warmer months of the year. To cool off in the spring and the summer, don’t be afraid to open your windows and allow refreshing gusts to enter your apartment.

 

The energy-saving tips listed above will help you to save some money when renting your own home. When you finally settle on a place and are trying to get a better sense for your new apartment, be sure to confirm the details of it with the landlord. You’ll want to find out who is responsible for repairs of the unit, the outdoor maintenance of the building, and what the lease terms are. Good luck in your new home and remember to save energy and keep your electric costs low!

Use these tips to help you save on your new apartment

To learn more ways to save money on electricity in an apartment or get started with a provider that prioritizes your savings, visit paylesspower.com. Offering cheap energy plans to suit both personal and business needs, Payless Power is a company committed to providing people not only with some of the best cheap electricity rates in Texas, but also with helpful customer service. Visit the website to learn more about how to save electricity at home, or connect with the online community on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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