Searching for your first apartment feels overwhelming, if you are not sure what you can afford, where to live or what your lease agreements means. If you’re looking for your first apartment, consider the following tips.

1. Budget – Set a realistic budget. Generally, you should spend no more than 30% of your monthly income on housing. Depending on your salary and median housing prices where you live, however, you might need to spend more.

2. Remember Extras – Different lease agreements cover different expenses and requirements. For example, you will probably be required to pay for a security deposit in addition to your first and last month’s rent up front. Some rentals might include utilities in your monthly rent, others won’t include anything. If you have a pet, you might also be required to pay increased rent and a pet deposit.

3. Homework – Attractive applicants provide good references and proof of income.

4. Don’t Rent Blind – Be sure you look at the apartment and make sure everything inside works before you sign a lease.

5. Sign a Lease – Sometimes individuals renting properties rent with handshake agreements. Get the details in writing to protect yourself in the long-run.

Moving Out? How to Find Your First Place

When considering all of the above and more, finding the right rental for you can be a lengthy search. Be sure to consider all sorts of rentals and the amenities they offer to their residents, including apartments, houses and even community-oriented living spaces. For example, the Waterford Townhomes in Clarence, NY feature air conditioning, updated appliances and a community clubhouse. With enough research and the right resources at your disposal, you will be packed and moving into your new home before you know it.