What Students Should Expect When Renting for the First Time

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Most colleges will be starting the fall semester soon. While many students prepare to live in a dorm, just as many are excited to live off campus. It's the first time they will live away from home, and renting a place off campus really gives them a feeling of independence. At the same time, there's a lot for them to learn about living on their own that they just don't teach in class. 

Deposits and Fees
Remember the first time you moved out, and all of the unexpected upfront expenses you faced that required you to have money up front? Most students estimate how affordable it is to live off campus based on the monthly costs of rent, utilities, cable, internet and food, but they may not have enough money saved to cover the upfront costs. 

The biggest surprise facing most first-time renters is deposits. A deposit is expected when moving in to any rental, and it usually equals one month's rent. Renters who have pets typically have to pay a pet deposit as well. On top of a deposit, there's usually an application fee that's around $50, depending on the type of the rental.

Another surprise is paying utility deposits. The electric company, gas company, water company and cable company all require deposits of varying amounts. Cable and internet companies often have equipment and installation charges as well. If your child will be a first-time renter, have them call around and find out how much each of these deposits will cost so they won't face any surprises.

Furnishings
Chances are you will provide your child with furniture when it's time for them to move to their first rental, whether it's hand-me-down furniture or something new. They will also need dishes, flatware, glasses, linens, cleaning supplies, lamps and more. These costs add up fast, even if you hit auctions and garage sales. By the time your child's rental is furnished, if you include the cost of their computer and electronics, you or your child (or both) have spent a pretty penny—and replacing it all in the event of a fire or robbery would not be cheap. That's why renters insurance is a great idea. It's affordable, and will help you replace your child's belongings—right down to their last pair of socks. It's easy to figure out how much renters insurance you need if you use our Personal Property Calculator.

Renting for the first time teaches your child a new kind of responsibility. Be ready—your "child" will probably seem like more of an adult after renting their first place.