So you’re finally getting your own place. You’ve searched local listings and found the perfect rental. The monthly rent payment is the only thing you have to worry about, right? Well, not quite. There are some essential things to keep in mind when calculating your rent affordability.

Utilities

Apartments often include utilities in the monthly rent, but not always. The landlord determines which utilities are covered. One landlord may include cable, water and heating while another may include water only. Be sure to read your lease contract closely so you know what needs to come out of your pocket. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Renter’s Insurance

Renters often overlook insurance, especially if they’re new to living on their own. Renter’s insurance covers the stuff in your apartment that you own, but not the building itself. The lease you signed doesn’t include insurance, and it isn’t available from your landlord, either. You’ll have to contact an insurance company to get a quote and find out what they will and won’t cover. Renter’s insurance is relatively cheap, so it won’t put you too far out of pocket. However, it may be limited in terms of what and how much is covered.

Location

Finally, it’s important to take into account where the apartment is located. It’s great if you found a place you can easily afford, but if you have to drive farther to get to work or school, you may be driving away any savings. Consider the wear and tear on your car and estimate how much you’ll be paying in gas to come and go from your new home.

At the same time, the location of your apartment may affect how much you’re paying for renter’s insurance. Make sure you ask the insurance company about it before you start shelling out money.

Text by Bo King