Renter households increased from 34 million in 2005 to over 43 million in 2017. With the probability that more families will seek this housing, planning ahead can make the process easier. NPHS is committed to providing safe, affordable and quality rental housing through their single and multi-family housing developments. NPHS suggests following these five tips that can make renting a lot less stressful:

1. Get your finances and credit in shape.
Protect your money and pay as little as you can for the apartment you want by strengthening your credit. Nearly half of renters are paying more than 30 percent of their incomes in rent. Financial counseling helps individuals strengthen their credit and establish savings goals. These habits can help you save enough money for a security deposit and help to improve your overall credit score. A good credit score is important because most landlords use a credit check to vet potential renters. Contact a NPHS’ Homebuyer Development Specialist to benefit from Financial Wellness one on one counseling that includes strategies for improving your credit score.

2. Avoid rental listing scams.
Scammers often advertise rentals that don’t exist or aren’t available, often known as phantom rentals, to trick people into sending money before they find out the truth. Signs you may have encountered a scam include a person telling you to wire money or they want the security deposit or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease. Report a scam by contacting local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

3. Consider renter’s insurance.
Avoiding scams and strengthening your credit are essential. It’s also important to protect your belongings from loss or accidental damage. Renter’s insurance protects the valuables inside your home whether you’re living in an apartment or renting a house. If there were an incident like a fire or water leak, a landlord’s insurance would cover the building itself but you would still need to replace your own belongings if damaged.

4. Select a moving company carefully.
If your friends or family are not assisting with the move, research moving companies and find a trustworthy one. Read online reviews and check social media, along with asking friends and family for a recommendation. The right moving company can make your relocation go smoothly. Get estimates from a few moving companies to compare prices.

5. Decide between a large managed property or apartment complex, or renting from an individual landlord.
Do your research and determine which one is best for you. Read online reviews, and if possible talk to current residents and ask what they like and don’t like about the property. Be sure to know your rights as a tenant, which can vary from state to state.