What First Time Renters Should Know: 10 Tips for Stellar Residents


Your first lease can be both exciting and scary as you take the plunge into independence, and along with it, responsibility. Here at Stake, we wanted to share 10 ways you can feel at home while also earning a glowing first rental reference from your property manager.

  • Take the inspection report seriously. Taking the time to document the condition of the apartment prior to moving in can save you money down the line and help you avoid being charged for damage or wear and tear that wasn't caused by you! Bonus points: take pictures of anything in less-than-fair condition as proof.
    Make on-time payments. One of the easiest ways to earn a glowing rental reference is by paying on time. Add the due date to your calendar with an alert to remind you the day before. In extenuating circumstances, if late rent cannot be avoided, communicate with your property manager ahead of time. If your property offers #ReturnOnRent, paying on time will ensure that you earn your monthly Cash Back.

  • Report repairs or maintenance ASAP. What may seem like a small leak to you could turn into a much bigger problem making the apartment less comfortable to live in for you and costing the building owner hundreds of dollars down the line. Let your property manager know right away if anything is running out of sorts, they'll appreciate it!
    Stay informed about community rules. When you know the guidelines around parking, disposing of trash and recycling, and using amenities it is easy to stay in the good graces of management as well as your neighbors.

  • Keep a budget. One of the hardest parts about signing a lease for the first time is managing your finances. Utilizing a free app like Every Dollar or Mint can help you plan ahead. It also helps to choose a property that offers #ReturnOnRent by Stake! You can earn cash back each month as well as bonuses for saving, that help you build financial wellness and treat yourself.

  • Be a friendly neighbor. Say hello, get to know the community that you live in. It is much more fun to live near people you know, like, and can rely on for the proverbial cup of sugar.

  • Pay attention to guest policies. Most leases include a clause about overnight guests that define how long you are able to host without notifying the office. Avoid awkward conversations down the line by knowing what your policy is and important information like where guests should park.

  • Be mindful of noise. The biggest neighbor dispute is often centered around noise. Keep in mind that apartment walls may not have the same noise-cancelling impact as the walls of your childhood bedroom. Avoid blasting music or the TV, and keep gatherings with friends to reasonable hours.

  • Find creative ways to add your personal touch. While you may not be able to make changes like painting walls, you can still make your apartment your own in fun and unique ways. Peel and stick wallpaper is a great way to add an accent wall to your bedroom or living room. Throw in a matching carpet and statement furniture item, and you can dramatically transform the look of your apartment without making permanent changes.

  • Notify your property manager far in advance of moving out. Leases often include terms that specify how far in advance of the end of a lease you need to notify your property manager that you're moving out. Waiting until the last minute to let your property manager know can result in penalty fees or potentially even the loss of your security deposit.