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Understanding the Rental Process

You may be moving out of your parents’ house or making the jump and leaving those college dorm room days behind, becoming a first time renter can be an exciting and pivotal time in your life. Figuring out how to rent a new place comes with new responsibilities, as well as freedom to pick and choose how, where, and what you want to live in.

Be aware of your income and expenses. Do not overestimate how much you can spend on rent and other necessities. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, you shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your gross income on rent. This isn’t always possible, but you should do your best to keep your housing expenses to 30% or under. You’ll need to account for your security deposit, first and last months’ rent, and an apartment application fee. If you’re moving in with a pet, this could also include a pet deposit or pet fee, as well as first and last months’ pet rent. Make sure to look at your lease carefully regarding the terms of getting your security deposit back, as well as any conditions for reimbursements.

To narrow down your choices, consider some of these following questions:

How far am I to work?

Will I be driving, using public transportation, or walking?

Do I want a quiet community or want to live in the middle of all the action?

Will my dream location fit in my budge?

The more you can narrow down your preferences, the easier it is to settle on the perfect community for you.

Having a car can change your rental budget and change your mind on where you may want to rent.  Some neighborhoods like rarely require a car and offer plenty of public transportation options. While other suburban areas need a reliable parking situation. Consider whether or not you need a covered space, assigned parking, or if on-street parking is readily available and safe. It’s also important to look at your car insurance policy. You may discover your rates could go up or down depending on your long-term parking situation.

Prioritize amenities, as well as location. In some areas, apartment complexes and some suburban communities come loaded with options like swimming pools, on-site fitness centers, spas, club houses and more.

Also think about what you want inside of your apartment.  You might be spending most of your time there so you want to make sure it is what you like and can live with.

How long does it take to find an apartment? It might take a day or it could take few months to find the right fit, so start your search early. If there’s no time to spare, you can use these useful tips on how to find an apartment fast.

Also, finding an apartment with a pet can make things a little more challenging. Learn the ins and outs of finding a pet-friendly apartment.

Prepare for other future expenses outside of your rent that may include utilities, parking, repairs, and new furniture. Utility costs can vary depending on your location and the season.  Most rentals call for the renters to pay for gas and electricity, as well as internet and cable. You should also add in any subscriptions, food, memberships, transportation and any other ongoing expenses.

There is specific information from tenants required by landlords and property management, along with the rental application. This information may include your rental history, proof of income (pay stubs and/or W-2), past landlords and personal references, and, sometimes, your social security number.

The big day is quickly approaching!  You finally signed the lease and are ready to move into your apartment.  Moving can be stressful, especially for a first time apartment renter. However, a hassle-free move is possible, and prioritizing a smooth transition is key.

Discuss the move-in date with your landlord. Ask for help don’t try and taken this on by yourself, or hire professional movers. Get moving supplies by purchasing moving boxes at your local hardware store. Pack your belongings. Use smaller boxes for heavier items and bigger boxes for lighter items.

Set up utilities. Some utilities can be easily set up online, and some may require an in-person visit. Make sure to schedule everything ahead of time to avoid a lack of internet or cable.

Change your mailing address with USPS and set up mail forwarding.

Excellent
Based on 22 reviews
Aaron Rounce
Aaron Rounce
July 21, 2021.
I wanted to take a moment to write about the positive experience utilizing Journey Homes to manage my rental. Christine and her staff were an absolute pleasure to work with - who always went above and beyond expectations for a property manager. Christine was always very transparent and proactive in the management of my property. I was always able to contact her quickly - either by phone or email despite myself living in another country! Even with the challenges she faced with the unit complex's association personnel - She and her staff worked diligently to keep the unit rentable and occupied consistently for over 10 years. Even though I have now sold my property and no longer have a professional relationship with Journey Homes - I wouldn't hesitate to utilize Christine and Journey homes if I ever invest in the St. Petersburg area again.
Kurt Davis
Kurt Davis
July 21, 2021.
Journey Homes Inc. was a blessing from God. One year ago I lost my mother suddenly and inherited her estate. When I contacted Journey homes Inc., they were compassionate, understanding, and professional about my situation and told me that they will walk me through each and every step in detail and my gosh they have not lied.This process of selling my mother’s home was unimaginable, but Christina and Al walked me through each and every sentence, line, and paragraph. This was something I have never done before and they made me feel like I have done this for years. I have so much knowledge after this situation just from them walking me through and helping me understand what I was signing. The passion and the professionalism that Journey Home Inc. has makes you feel like part of their team, their home, and their lives. I would HIGHLY recommend Journey Homes Inc. for all your real estate needs. Deontre Henderson a satisfied customer
Peter Davis
Peter Davis
July 21, 2021.
The entire Journey Homes crew has been very helpful! Al did a great job in taking care of some home repair and maintenance issues on my rental property before it was ready to be sold. Christina has a lot of knowledge and she is a professional and trustworthy agent! My wife and I moved from Florida but needed to sale a rental property and Christina was immediately on the job with offers in a matter of hours. Being in another state and leaving your property in someone else’s care can be scary. Christina’s confidence and reassurance that she would take care of things calmed our concerns. I received assistance and a sale price beyond my expectation! They both proved to be trustworthy and did as promised! I would definitely recommend Journey Homes, Inc. for your property sales!
Andrea Quinn
Andrea Quinn
July 19, 2021.
Journey Homes managed my rental unit for 12 years. As a long distance owner, it was imperative that I have a manager/realtor I could trust. Always professional, wonderfully personable and completely reliable - Christina and the Journey Homes team were always top notch. Excellent assistance, advice and care when I remodeled the unit several years ago. And when I sold my condo last year, Christina was there for me and handled the sale - hassle free and got the price I wanted. Thank you Christina and the Journey Homes team!
Larry Larson
Larry Larson
July 18, 2021.
Debora and I were extremely pleased with Christina and AL Staley when we sold our house to move to Virginia. Christina advised us on a great market price to list our house at, quickly set up showings and open houses, and was always available for our questions and concerns. Al helped us get expert help for our needed repairs at a reasonable price and did some of the repairs himself. Together, they did an outstanding, professional job for us and we highly recommend them! Debora and Larry Larson
Billi Bowen
Billi Bowen
July 17, 2021.
I used Journey Homes for my town home in Pinellas Point area and it was the best choice. While they managed my property, I had no worries, and they took care of my home like it was their own. They were very professional and quick to respond to my needs & tenants. The cost to use their service is well worth it!
wusupdude1234
wusupdude1234
July 16, 2021.
I have worked with Journey Homes for years. They are always professional respond in a timely manor.
Ignacio Sanz de Acedo
Ignacio Sanz de Acedo
July 16, 2021.
I've been working with Journey Homes for over 10 years. Since I bought my properties in the mid 2000's , Christina and Al have been with me each step along the way assisting me with all sorts of tenants and issues. You can count on them for: buying, renting, selling, screening tenants, collecting rent and of course maintenance and repairs of the units. If you are looking for a property manager or real estate agent, don't hesitate to call them. I highly recommend their services.
MeMe Davis
MeMe Davis
July 16, 2021.
Christina is a wonderful agent! She is very personable, professional and knowledgeable! My husband and I moved from Georgia to Florida and she made our transition very easy. She was prepared and had listings that fit our criteria so that the trips to Florida during our search were a good investment of our time. Christina was very tenacious when it came down to finding the answers to all of our questions or allaying any concerns that we had! Our search trips to Florida were limited because she found our new home quickly! If in the future we decide to relocate to a nearby city, we will use Journey Homes for our current home sale and new purchase. We would definitely recommend Christina and Journey Homes for any of your real estate needs!
Lefolia Cooper
Lefolia Cooper
July 16, 2021.
I’ve been a tenant with Journey homes Inc. for 8yrs and I must say that they are very professional, they have excellent communication and give outstanding customer service , they really care about there tenants. Whenever someone is looking for a place I always refer them to Journey Homes inc. Thanks for everything!!!!

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