First Time Renter Advice and Process

First Time Renter Advice and Process


Before you start looking you might want to decide whether you want your apartment run by a private landlord or a management company. There is an important distinction. A private landlord might be someone with a house or apartment for rent utilizing the property investment for extra income. This might result in scrimping on expenses and improvements. On the other hand, a management company is in the business for the long-term. All-Pro, for example, manages over 400 apartments in many communities across Jackson County and surrounding areas. We are proud to have become the leader in residential and commercial property management. We strive to ensure that our residents are happy in their new home. Our company offers many services for our tenants including leasing specialists who will help you match an apartment or house to your needs and budget, 24/7 emergency maintenance response, customer service department with prompt response time for your calls, account statements for rent payments, and much more.

Apartment Layout

There are many different apartment and housing floor plans available. To give a few examples, there are apartments ranging from one to multiple bedrooms as well as one or multiple bathrooms and other amenities such as dens, dining rooms, extra storage, etc. There are also townhouse style apartments with an upper level for the bedrooms, as well as ranch style layouts with all rooms on one single level. Some houses feature basements, attics, garages, and fenced yards. Take the time to review different layouts available to you. Pick a floor plan that most closely fits your lifestyle today, and something you can live with for the next few years. To get a better understanding of how much rent you can afford, take your gross monthly income and divide that by 3 for an apartment, or 4 for a house. Please also take into consideration if utilities are included or excluded. Some of our vacancies will be listed as offering to pay a few utilities, and request that you pay others.

Application Process

Our applications are only $20 for the first applicant and $10 per co-applicant thereafter. The fee is non-refundable and covers a full credit report and criminal background check. You can download an application from our website, pick one up at our office, or ask for one during a showing with one of our leasing agents. Once you submit an application for one of our rental properties, and receive an approval, we will schedule a lease appointment for you to complete the rental process with our company.

Finalizing Apartment Selection

If after approval, you are not settled on the first vacancy you were shown, then it’s time to take a closer look at the other apartments or houses we have available that you could be moving into. On our website we provide a page specifically designed for you to shop our vacancies from. Plug in the number of bedrooms you require, price range, etc, and it will pull up everything we have vacant and ready to move into. You can then give our leasing office a call to schedule a showing with one of our leasing agent specialists.

The Lease Agreement

Once you are ready to make a commitment to a specific apartment or house, you will be presented with a lease agreement during a leasing appointment. The lease is a legal document that is binding on both the resident and All-Pro. It specifies the terms and conditions of the agreement and defines roles and responsibilities. Ask questions during your lease appointment on anything that you do not fully understand. You will need to bring with you to this appointment your driver’s license or state id, proof of utilities being transferred into your name (confirmation numbers or receipts), as well as the money to enter the agreement with (usually first month’s rent and security deposit). You will be given a copy of the lease as well as other legally pertinent documentation of the agreement we are initiating.

Security Deposit

You will be required to put down a security deposit that will be equal to one month’s rent unless specified otherwise. This will be held by the property manager and applied to the cost of repairing any damages to the apartment. After deducting the proper amount, if any, to cover damages and repairs, the remainder of the security deposit is refundable within 30 days of the date you move out and turn in keys to our office. Terms for holding and refunding the security deposit are spelled out in the lease. Remember the security deposit while you are living in your rental, you’ll want to take excellent care of the apartment or house so it will be refunded to you when you leave.

Pet Fee/Deposit

Because pets play a central role in so many of our lives, many of our rental properties are pet friendly giving residents the option of moving pets into the home. In some cases, you may be charged a small up-front fee and/or a monthly charge to cover extra cleaning and repair costs that may result from your dog or cat in the residence.

Arrange for Utilities

Utilities such as gas, electric, water/sewer, trash removal, cable television or internet, and phone service may be required to be in your name and be paid by your separately from your monthly rent payments. It is your responsibility to call and order service before you move in. Some services may require a deposit, so you will want to call ahead and plan for that extra expense. For example, the city of Jackson requires a $300 water deposit. When budgeting your gas and electric utility costs, please keep in mind per Consumers Energy the average American uses about $3.00/day combined useage.

Renters Insurance

Before you move in, it is important for you to obtain renters insurance. It is not a requirement of our company, but it is not something that we or the owner will provide for you. This is a special insurance policy that protects the contents of your apartment from loss or damage due to unforeseen events such as fire or theft, for example. A policy of this type is really quite affordable and premiums are calculated based on the value of your furniture and other personal possessions. Most companies offer policies starting at $20,000 in coverage, which costs about $150 a year. Remember, any insurance carried by the property owner only insures the buildings. Protecting the contents of your apartment is your responsibility.

Walk Through Inspections

When you first move in, it is important to fill out a move-in inventory and condition form that will be given to you during your lease appointment. This will help protect your security deposit from existing flaws or damages from previous renters. This form will need to be completed by you and mailed to us during the first month of tenancy. When you move out, we will complete another walk through to note any damages and we will compare those notes to your original move in statement. We may also conduct periodic walk through inspections during your habitation to ensure the property is being properly cared for. We will give you 24 hours notice before entering the premises to conduct the inspection.