The beauty here is you have an opportunity to easily move to another part of the city if your first pick doesn’t jive—buying would likely cost you a realtor commission for that luxury. You may even want to purposely explore to help decide on a future home purchase. Of course, that means being particularly smart about your lease. Do you really have to sign long-term for a complex to accept you? You’d be surprised how many places will go month-to-month. This is Texas, we often accommodate.

Rental insurance is also something to consider. For what’s probably a low, three-figure sum for 12 months of coverage, peace of mind follows—and it could be even cheaper if combined with other insurance policies. Don’t forget to take pictures of all your possessions and keep them where you can access them—whether via the cloud, an external hard drive, etc. It depends on your insurance company’s rules, but it could be strong evidence in a situation where you lost your purchase record. Have as much documentation as possible.

Remember to look closely at the rental’s amenities. Once again, a sizable pool could come into play as that’s a great place to meet neighbors when you’re new in town—and Texans love to barbecue between laps.

If you’ve moved here to feel out whether Fort Worth will be your permanent home, consider renting closer to the major locations of the city. After all, the best way to know if it’s for you is to be a little more in the center of it all. No matter what, you’ll quickly find out why we’re designated as one of America’s Most Livable Communities by the Partners for Livable Communities.

Renting 101

Three Reasons to Rent Instead of Buy:

1. MORE FLEXIBLE LIVING. For one, you aren’t tied down to a mortgage. Most leases are for one year, so if you want to move closer to work or just to a different apartment or house in your neighborhood, you can do that. Furthermore, you can afford apartments with more luxurious amenities when you rent and homes in neighborhoods in which you might not be able to afford to purchase.

2. FEWER SURPRISES. When you own, there are hidden costs like homeowners’ insurance and large repairs like new roofs. When you rent, you know exactly how much you will be paying in rent each month, so it’s much easier to plan the rest of your monthly budget.

3. NO REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE. Pesky overgrown lawn? That’s the landlord’s department. Hot water issue? The building management will deal with it. Front door giving you trouble? You won’t have to fix it yourself or pay someone to. That’s the beauty of renting.

How Do I Find an Apartment?

There are a number of apartment communities and apartment providers in Fort Worth. Many communities offer a variety of amenities such as swimming pools, business centers with Internet access, cable TV and other things to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Many apartment companies have websites that will allow you to find out more about the company, a particular community, amenities, unit size and availability.

What Will I Have To Do To Qualify To Rent An Apartment?

Apartment communities will have a set of rental criteria that states the guidelines for acceptance. The rental criteria may ask for your credit history, employment history, rental history, and criminal history. You should review the rental criteria before applying to rent. This will give you an idea of whether you will qualify. Keep in mind that many apartment communities restrict rental to persons who have not been convicted of certain types of crime and who have an acceptable rental history.

How Do I Apply?

Most apartment communities will require that you sign a rental application providing certain information. The questions asked will be used to determine whether you are eligible. Remember that the rental application is a contract between you and the owner of the property. The application contract will tell you what fees and deposits must be paid and whether or not they will be refundable. Many owners require that you pay a nonrefundable application fee, a nonrefundable administrative fee and an application deposit that may or may not be refundable. Read your application closely so that you will know what fees and deposits must be paid and whether you can get them back if you change your mind and decide not to rent.

Do I Still Need Insurance?

Renters insurance, sometimes called tenant insurance, pays to replace or repair a tenant’s personal property if it’s stolen, damaged, or destroyed in a home or apartment rented by that tenant. The landlord’s insurance policy covers the house or apartment building structure but not the tenant’s personal property, such as furniture, clothing, and electronics. Some rental property managers may require you to have renters insurance as a condition of your lease. Renters insurance policies typically include three types of coverages: personal property coverage, loss of use, and personal liability.

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