Getting ready to move to a new area
Now that you have completed the regular
program and are getting ready to move from Junction City, you need a place to
live. Even if you have decided to move
home to live with family or a friend, these skills are important for you to
practice so that you are best equipped to find employment when you are
Location, Location, Location
has been said that the three most important things to consider when finding a
home is, ‘Location, Location, Location’.
Where you decide to live will play a huge factor in almost every other
part of your life. Proximity to your
job, recreation, friends, etc., will help determine your chances of being
successful and happy.
are the steps to take when looking for a home:
- Log on to the computer
- (Google Earth – Satellite view of the area)
- Consider where you
will be working. This is the most
important place to start! If you
can’t easily get yourself to work each day, you will reduce the chance of
being able to hold that job, and thereby pay your rent.
- Where you will go to
school. If this is your priority
(over employment), it will be come the number one thing to consider.
- How close are you to
public transportation. As you
know, it rains for months at a time in this part of the country. The closer you live to public
transportation, the easier, healthier, less time consuming, your life
- How close to shopping,
recreation etc. While this is
least important, it is something to consider.
is usually best to start looking for a home after you have a job offer.
- Call for initial
information – (Qualify them)
- When will you have a
unit available? (Typically units become available at the beginning of the
month. Renters tend to give their
30 days notice at the same time they pay their rent for the last month
they intend to rent. Then there is
a small window (usually less than a week) for the landlord/management
company, to get the unit ready to re-rent.)
- How much is rent?
(Make sure you know the actual monthly amount, and don’t get too caught
up in promotions and move in specials.
This is especially important if you are signing a lease because
you are financially responsible for the entire lease regardless if you
- How much is the
application Fee? (This is usually a small amount ($25 - $30), however it
can add up if you are searching several apartment communities. Be sure to ask if this is refundable if
you are turned down for any reason.
This amount can sometimes be negotiated, depending on how badly
they are trying to rent out apartments.)
- How much is the
- Refundable – this is
the amount you can expect to get back after you leave. The deposit being returned depends on
several things. 1.) did you give
appropriate notice (typically 30 days), 2.) did you leave your apartment
in good condition (normal wear and tear), 3.) did you pay for any damage
caused by your stay. Remember,
you will likely need this deposit to put down on your next apartment
after you leave. It is worth
spending the extra time to leave your apartment in mint condition after
you move out.
- Non-Refundable – this
is the amount you will not get back.
(Often called a cleaning fee, it does not mean that they will
clean your apartment when you leave.
That is your job. A cleaning
fee pertains to shampooing carpets, drapes, deep cleaning fixtures and
- What is included with
rent? (Typically in an apartment community, you can expect to have water,
sewer, and trash removal, included with your rent.)
- Sometimes basic cable
- Are there Washer/Dryer
hookups? (Laundry Facility) You will quickly learn how important the
ability to do laundry is. If you
use a laundry facility, are they coin operated? (probably). This can get very expensive ($1.00 - $1.50
per load). Hookups in the unit are
nice if you own and washer and dryer.
You may consider renting a washer & dryer until you find your
first ‘long-term’ apartment or house.
- Is there a weight
room? (Find out if there is any other ‘Amenities’ (or extras) included
with the community. This is a
great way to meet new people.
- What does electricity
typically run in each unit? (The
person renting the apartment should have a pretty good guess what average
electricity costs for that size apartment. If you want specifics, you can call the
electric company, and give them the actual address and apartment number.)
Once you have done your homework, and qualified the landlord that you
would like to rent from, it is their turn to qualify you.
- Filling out an
application – (They Qualify you)
- Who do you work for?
- How long? (Obviously
if you can show that you do not change jobs every month, you can
demonstrate that you are not likely to sneak off in the middle of the
night without giving notice, or paying rent).
- How much do you
gross? (Gross refers to the amount you make before taxes are taken out
(ex. $9.00 for 40 hours = $360 Gross weekly). The reason that they need your Gross
income is to decide if you can afford the apartment that you are
applying for. Most apartment
communities use some type of equation (such as your gross must equal 2.5
– 3 times the rent). In this example, $9.00 per hour at a full time job
(40 hours per week) will gross $1,560.00 per month. This monthly gross, divided by 2.5,
would mean that you can afford apartment rent up to $624.00 per month).
- Not meeting these
qualifications, may not automatically exclude you.
- If you have not
worked for a long time (usually 90 days or more), can you pay
additional rent/deposit (sometimes 2-3 months in advance (see “Rental
- Do you have a
co-signer? (see “Rental Considerations” below)
- What is your credit
- Over the last few
years, this has become the single most important information collected by
futures landlords. No Credit is
not necessarily Bad credit, but may not count for you. Perfect credit is 850 (only God has
that score), and you will need a 720 or greater for it to do you any
good. Scores in the 600’s will
actually count against you. Protect your credit score at all
cost. It follows you wherever you
go, for the rest of your life.
- Have you rented
before? (Rental History)
- This is where the
program can give you some help.
Your stay with the program simulates apartment living. We expect many of the same things that
an apartment manager expects (ex. Keeping the noise down, not causing
damage, giving notice before you move out (i.e. Not running away),
paying your bills, etc.). Because
of this similarity, we can offer you a rental history for your next
apartment. If you were a good Haag
Home Apartments tenant, the Apartment manager (me) can give you a
positive rental history for your new landlord. Likewise, if you choose to be a poor
tenant, you should not give our name as your previous rental history.
- Have you ever been
convicted of a crime? (Criminal History)
- Calm down. This doesn’t automatically disqualify
you. Completing a treatment
program may allow you to rent (see “Rental Considerations” below)
- Juveniles (you) are
usually adjudicated (as appose to convicted) of a crime. If the question is specifically, “have
you ever been convicted of a crime”?, then the answer is no. While adjudicated records have been
kept private in the past, (where as conviction records are not), a
private database may have information about your adjudicated criminal
background. It is important for
you to complete a treatment program for this reason alone!
- It may be a good idea
to apply at an apartment (not your first choice) to see what, if
anything comes up. You can then
choose how to answer questions in the future. (Be Prepared!)
You have found your new apartment, been accepted, and have agreed to
- Visually inspect the
residence before you sign a rental agreement. Once you sign the lease, the apartment
(and problems) belongs to you.
- Carefully verify
refundable deposits as listed in the agreement. You can’t read your lease too many
times before signing it. It is
legally binding, and you WILL be held responsible.
- Signing a lease: (Good
- Advantage – The
landlord cannot raise your rent during the lease. Also, you may receive incentives (free
rent, free stuff…) to sign a lease agreement)
- Disadvantage – You
are locked into the term of the lease.
Should you move out (even with appropriate notice), you are
responsible for the lease balance, or until it is re-rented.
- Do a “walk-thru”
inspection. This is your first and last opportunity to not be held
responsible for existing damage.
Look behind pictures, in cabinets etc. Note any worn or damaged items,
including the condition of the carpet and counter tops. (Note: if you do not mark it down on
paper, you may be held responsible when you move out. Remember, every says, “it was like that
when I got here”.)
- Your responsibilities
- Pay rent on time
(specified in the lease agreement).
Not paying or paying late, will likely affect your credit score,
and future rental history.
- Keep noise down (no
parties, loud music etc.)
(Eviction will not release you from you lease agreement). It will, however damage your rental
- Guests (who may stay,
and for how long?). This should be
noted on your lease. Ask if you
- Roommate vs. guest
(are they on the lease or not?). A
guest stays for a while and then leaves.
If you have someone living with you, you WANT him or her to be
held responsible for any damage.
Have them added to the lease.
Insurance. If you’re a broken
into, or there is damage to the apartment, your belongings are not
covered by the landlord (only the structure and appliances belonging to
the landlord are covered). Renters
insurance is very inexpensive, and if you own anything of value, it is
- When you are ready to
leave (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Notice MUST be
given. Notice is equal to the term
of the lease (i.e. month-to-month = 30 days notice).
- You must clean the
apartment and repair any damage (if you expect your deposit back, and
receive a positive rental history recommendation in the future).
- You will have to pay
for storage if you fail to take all of your possessions with you. The landlord is required by law to
store your stuff (even if you left it behind as garbage) for a period of
time, and then charge you for storage and removal. This dollar amount will eventually show
up on your credit report as money owed, and bad credit.
- Check your credit
several months after leaving to assure there are no collections against
See “Rental Considerations”
– page 5.
Rental Considerations – as per ‘Emerald Property Mgt., Inc.’
by: Emerald Property Management, Inc. - 2009)
Does the renter have a positive rental history?
(Example: Paid rent on time, gave notice prior to moving, has no outstanding
dept to a prior landlord, has no record of complaints (i.e. noise, trash
Does the renter have a stable job? (Example: Has
worked for the employer for a period of time (or a solid past work
history). Has an income of at least 3
times the amount of rent (i.e. if rent is $500, does the renter gross at least
$1,500 per month).
Has the renter established any positive credit?
(Example: Made regular monthly payments to a bill that reports to a credit
agency (i.e. credit card, cell phone, car payment, department store etc.). “No credit” will not be used as a
positive attribute for rental purposes, and may require a co-signer (see
Paid collections and other satisfied (bad debt) will
be taken into consideration. Medical
debt is not considered as bad debt.
A criminal background history does not automatically
exclude a potential renter (with the exception of a conviction for the
Manufacture & Delivery of a controlled substance). A renter who can show that they are in recovery
(i.e. treatment program, counseling, satisfied court order, paid restitution
etc.) can be protected under the “Fair Housing Act”.
Co-Signer as an
option: A co-signer (someone who is
willing to apply and be held financially responsible for the same rental
agreement as you) may be considered for renters who fall short in one
(sometimes two) of the areas listed above.
may include: Paying a “double deposit” (held in trust by the management company
to assure that you will follow the conditions of the rental agreement. Note:
Rent in advance, is not considered a security since the management
company cannot actually provide this money to the owner prior to the month in
which the rent applies.
Part 1 & 2 – Quiz
What are the three most important things to
consider when finding a home? __________________
Why is location so important?
Where is the most important place to start (when
apartment hunting)? _______________________
What are three things to consider when looking for
a home? _______________________________
What is meant by “Qualify them”?
List 8 questions commonly asked when shopping for
an apartment. _________________________ 1.)
What does ‘Gross’ pay refer to?
How many times rent, should ‘Gross’ pay typically
If the rent requirement is “3 times rent”,
and you ‘Gross’ $1,500, how much can you pay in rent?
What is (typically) considered a “long time” to be
What are the 4 main areas you must qualify to get
an apartment? ___________________________
What credit score do you need to help you?
How can the program help with Rental History?
What is the difference between “Conviction” and
What may help you not be disqualified for having a
criminal record? ________________________
What should you do BEFORE you sign a rental
What is a disadvantage to signing a lease?
What must you do so that you will not be held
responsible for damage? _____________________
What are 2 of your responsibilities as a renter?
What must you ABSOLUTELY do before moving out?
What is considered to be the standard for giving
What must you do to assure you will get your deposit
What criminal act will disqualify you from renting
from ‘Emerald Property Management’? _______
What does it mean to be a co-signer?
What might you be able to do if you can’t qualify
for an apartment? _________________________
Why should you keep track of your apartment search
on the proper forms? __________________