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How Does Renting an Apartment Work?

May 15, 2021 9:00:00 AM / by Hignell Rentals Team

rental applicationWhether you’ve just graduated college, are moving out of your parent’s house for the first time, or have decided to take the plunge on your own, it’s time to start looking for an apartment to move into. But if you’ve never rented before... where do you even start?

Follow the steps below and you’ll be you on your way to living in your very first apartment!

Where to Look for an Apartment

When it comes to looking for an apartment there are a few things you need to figure out before you start your search.

First things first, you need to determine how much of your monthly budget can go towards rent. If you’ve never sat down and looked at the money coming into your bank account and the money going out, now is the time. Here are 4 simple steps to creating a budget that will help you figure out how much money you can afford to spend on rent.

Once you’ve figured out the amount you can spend on rent, you can start looking at apartment complexes that are in your price range. Begin by looking at complexes closest to the places that you frequent most often, then expand your radius if need be.

Things to Consider

When searching for an apartment in your price range there are a few things you want to make sure you consider before settling down.

Make a list of must-haves! These are the amenities you don’t want to compromise on. If the complex doesn’t list your must-have amenities, then you can easily move on and look at a different one. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Do you require there be a fitness center, so you don’t have to also pay for a gym membership?
  • Are you looking for a place that has on-site laundry or possibly has washer/dryer units inside the apartment unit?
  • Covered parking?
  • Paid for garbage service?
  • Athletic courts?

Once you know what amenities you must have for the apartment complex to be even worth a second glance, determine if you want a roommate or to live alone.

There are always pros and cons with roommates, but the biggest pro is that you can gain more square footage and usually a better complex with more amenities because the rent is split between you. Maybe you couldn’t pay the cost of $1,000 for a one bedroom, but you can easily pay $1,300 for a 2 bedroom when sharing with a roommate.  

Application Process

Now you’ve found an apartment that meets all your requirements and it’s time to apply!

To apply you’ll want to have these items in front of you:

  • Personal Information 
  • Move-In Date
  • Address Information
    • Current Address
    • Current Landlord Name + Phone Number
    • Previous Landlord Name + Phone Number (some require you to provide 2 years of rental history)
      • If you don’t have this, then you’ll more than likely need a co-signer on your lease!
    • Date Moved In
    • Date Moved Out
    • Reason for Moving
    • Monthly Rent
    • Personal References
  • Employment Information
    • Employment Status
    • Employer
    • Job Title
    • Employed Since
    • Monthly Income
    • Employer Address
    • Employer Phone
    • Previous Employer
    • State/End Date
  • Personal Information
    • Date of Birth
    • Social Security Number
    • Driver License Number
    • Driver License State

For a full list of the information you’ll need to have on hand click here!

Getting Approved

Last but certainly not least, you need to get approved for your new apartment.

Here are some of the reasons people can get denied:

  • Don’t have a good credit score or have no credit at all – if this is you then you’ll need to have a co-signer or guarantor to sign the lease with you.
  • You can’t afford the rent by yourself – this means that the money you make doesn’t cover the rent plus extra expenses, so try looking for a roommate.
  • You didn’t turn in all your documents – it’s always best to double and triple check that you’ve filled out everything and attached all the required documents.

Checking each of these items off your list will land you in an apartment you can afford and has the amenities you’re looking for!


Looking for a step-by-step process of how to apply to a Hignell Rentals apartment? Click here for a visual walk through of everything you’ll need and see when applying.

Quick Steps for Applying Online

Topics: Apartment Living, My First Apartment

Hignell Rentals is Your Home for Northern California Rentals.

At Hignell Rentals we have been maintaining and renting properties in the North State since 1970. We value relationships and caring communities, honoring and encouraging one another, unwavering integrity, uncommon generosity, and growth and innovation. We strive to provide our residents with a quality living environment across the North State in Redding, Red Bluff, Chico, Oroville and surrounding areas.