When it comes to renting an apartment there are many factors to consider in your decision, both personal and financial. Despite the fact that renting entails less responsibility than home ownership, there are still a lot of nitty gritty details when it comes to the renting process. Whether you are a seasoned renter, or it is your first time, make yourself aware of these potential pitfalls so that they do not happen to you too.

1. Skipping over the lease
It is important that once you actually find a place that you love you do not glaze over the details of your lease. Sure a lease can be a bit tedious and the legal jargon is not fun, but neither is finding yourself in an uncomfortable legal situation. Study your lease for your move in date, when rent is due, and the vacating procedures when you move out. Make sure to address any issues with your lease before you sign it. It is afterall a legally binding document.

2. Passing on renter’s insurance
You might think that you can live without this added expense until the unimaginable happens. How will you pay to replace all of your personal belonging in the event of a fire? Most renters are not aware that policies are relatively affordable, and you can protect yourselves for $30 a month or less. Renter’s insurance is a must-have for anybody planning to rent.

3. Renting sight unseen
Before you commit to a place make sure it is a good fit for you. However convenient it might seem to rent an apartment without an in person visit, do not do it! Pictures posted online may look nice, but there are many things not detectable through a computer such as odor. If you are renting with roommates do not go preview the apartment by yourself. In a hot rental market the apartment could be gone before everybody has made up their minds. If you must rent sight sight unseen, then an apartment locator is a huge asset. They can help you navigate the process from afar and confirm that what you are seeing is the real deal.

4. Waiting for the right time
Rent prices can vary dramatically from day-to-day, and once quoted a rent rate you need to understand that it will expire. Just like airline tickets, rents are also constantly going up and down daily. Apartments use pricing software that adjust rent rates according to various factors such as occupancy, competitors’ rates,and market conditions to calculate the best possible rate. If you are interested in leasing an apartment, do not wait to lock in your rent rate before it is gone!  

5. Not working with an expert
One way to ease the anxiety that comes with apartment hunting is to utilize a licensed apartment locator. A common misconception about using an apartment locators is that they charge a fee for their service. The truth is that a reputable apartment locator will never charge a fee, and will always work to get the renter the best deal for their budget.  An apartment finder can make the challenges of finding an apartment easier on you, and is a useful housing resource that all to often goes overlooked.

Have you ever made a mistake when renting an apartment that you later regretted? Tell us what NOT to do below!

A version of this article previously appeared on Angie’s List.