Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moving to permanent home (useful tips for foreign expat)

I was busy for the past few weeks due to home moving. We were moving to a small and decent apartment with one bedroom at the estimated size of 600sq. feet. Yes, the apartment is small but that's what we can afford to rent currently. The property in California is very expensive. The rental for one bedroom apartment starting at US$1,200 per month. We manage to rent at US$1,285 per month which is within our budget. It is partial furnished apartment which equipped with stove, microwave, cabinets and refrigerator in the kitchen. That's Great! It makes my life easier to cook.

There is a crucial learning to my life here. We are not allowed to bargain. All the rulings are fixed and same goes to the rental costs and deposits of the apartment which are fixed by the Management. The rates can be varied from weekly to seasons due to demand/supply market. Also, there is monthly rental charges for pets too. The rate ranges between US$35 to US$50 per pet per month while the deposit would be US$500 per pet apart from home deposit. If you are a new resident without the history of Credit Score, you would require to pay higher home deposits. On top of that, you also need to pay the utilities such as electricity, water, trash, gas and sewage.

As a new tenant, you need to be honest with the Management before signing the rental contract. Any contract breach will affect on your credibility and credit scores if you are renewing the contract or moving to a new place in the future. Bear in mind, the new Management may contact your previous Management to check on your history records before renting the premise to you.

Here are some tips if you are looking for an apartment.

1. Find out your affordable budget for renting. The more amenities you enquire, the higher rental cost it is.
2. Take your time to scout around the apartments. Finalise the top 2-3 apartments that you like and make comparisons before signing the rental contract. Also, find out some reviews/comments of the apartment from the previous and existing tenants. You do not want being regret renting an apartment due to poor management and poor security.
3. An apartment with one bedroom can be occupied by 2 adults with a child only. You may consider renting 2-3 bedrooms if there are more than 2 adults in the family. The Management requests for ID photos and particulars of all the family members which will be listed as the residents in the rental contract. Heavy penalities/rental charges will be incurred to the tenant for the non-listed occupants in the unit.
4. Most of the Managements prefer to lease the apartments for one year basis. Once you have signed the contract, you must fulfill the renting for 12-months otherwise, you need to pay the remaining rentals or looking for a new tenant to take over the unit, depending on your contract.
5. Most of the apartments are equipped with full kitchen set. The lighting are available at kitchen and toilet only. Microwave is an optional. Some apartments do and some don't. Thus, you still need to get some lighting for the living hall and bedrooms besides the basic furniture.
6. Home insurance is not included in the rental contract. As a tenant, you need to purchase the package and provide the necessary information of your home insurance to the Management before moving in. Besides that, you also need to set-up utilities, phone line and internet accounts by yourself before moving in too. (additional tips)

Hope this will help.

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