Budgeting Tips for First Time Renters
So you have decided to take the plunge and find a rental property. You might have a clear idea of where and how you want to live, yet it is essential to understand your finances and be realistic about what you can afford.
"Doing a budget should be your top priority," says Andrew Graham, CEO of Rental Management Australia (RMA). "Taking the time to plan a budget gives you control over your finances. It's crucial to be honest about the money you have coming in and how much you need to live. It will give you clear guidelines as to the type of property you can rent."
Start saving & adjust your spending habits
If takeaways and cafe-made lattes feature heavily in your week, start jotting down your daily expenses over a month to understand your spending habits better. This includes dinners out, retail therapy and those daily coffees. Once you have a solid overview, you can assess what changes can be made to cut back.
These can include:
• Cancelling unneeded subscriptions
• Making your coffee at home
• Packing a lunch for work
• Shopping around for the very best food prices
• Finding better phone and utility deals
Your living expenses should not surpass your income — if they do, it's time to make some changes. Small daily efforts add up and do make a difference. You might find you are saving substantial funds in just one month.
Setting a budget
Moving out of home is expensive with one-off expenses like the bond, advance rent, connecting utilities and internet, and moving costs. Then there are the ongoing costs, like rent, utility and internet bills and contents insurance. Planning a budget gives you a good idea of how much rent you can afford and helps you decide whether to rent by yourself or with housemates. It also gives you peace of mind knowing you have the funds to cover your costs.
Decide how you want to live
Ask yourself where you want to live, and where you can afford to rent. What does your new home need to include? It might be good security, a car space, a spare room or balcony. The right location for you might be near the beach, work, public transport or close to family. This means you may not need to use your car as often so you will save money on petrol, too.
Find your perfect property
Armed with your budget, head to Rental Management Australia and browse a wide range of properties, noting which ones you want to see for yourself. Speak to an agent or attend an advertised inspection time.
Fill out your rental application
Take your time filling out your application. Doing it last minute may see you rush through your answers and miss vital information.
As a first-time renter, you won't have a rental history, so include plenty of details about your employment history and income. Attach personal identification like your driver's licence, passport and Medicare card, proof of income like a bank statement or payslips, and personal and professional references.
In the meantime, keep on budget and watch your money - your perfect rental awaits you!