Though sheltering in place is still a reality for some young people, others over the next few months will be starting their first jobs and looking for their first apartments.

If you’ve never rented an apartment, there are several things you need to know about the process.

High on the list should be to review your finances — particularly your credit history. If you’ve paid bills in your name and have a credit card, you will have some bill-paying history. A prospective landlord will want to see that you have paid your bills on time and paid them as agreed. If you have no credit history or no rental history and not a lot of employment history, you will want to see if someone — maybe a parent or older sibling — can act as a guarantor or co-signer on your lease.

You’ll need to show proof of income. Proof of income can be an offer letter stating your salary and terms of your employment. Many landlords will want to see 40 to 80 times your monthly rent in income, savings or loans. These income calculations are not always hard-and-fast rules with every landlord, but if you do have this type of income, you will have more options.

If all your financial information is ready, your application processing can often go more quickly. You can expect to pay one application fee per adult applicant. Application fees can range from $25 to $100 on average. Security deposits can range from zero to up to two months’ rent, depending on where you are moving. Be prepared with funds for a security deposit and the first month’s rent. In some cases, if you are not moving into a property on the first of the month, be prepared to have funds to cover the additional days that will be prorated.

Once you have secured a rental home, you will have to plan for your move. If you have some furniture and personal items to move, you will want to call and reserve a moving truck or movers. Some employers will cover some relocation costs if you are relocating from another state. Check with your human resources department to see what moving expenses they might cover.

Schedule your move with the property manager or landlord. If you are moving to a larger apartment building, ask whether they have a loading dock and an elevator you can reserve for moving day. You will need to know whether the property charges a move-in fee and when they will need to receive that fee.

Make sure your movers can work with the time slot for unloading your belongings into your apartment. Most loading docks are large enough for only one move at a time, and often you will have about a four-hour window to have the loading dock and elevator reserved for your use. At this time of year with other people moving, you don’t want to miss the moving time slot you have reserved. Make sure the moving truck will fit in the loading dock. Even if there is no loading dock, you still might have to schedule your move with management or the landlord.

If you don’t have a loading dock, find out how you can get permits for the moving truck to park on the street. If you do not yet have furniture and are planning to order furniture that you will have shipped, find out what the property’s policies are on accepting large packages. Even unassembled furniture will take up more space than average-size packages. You will want to know if you have to be there to receive those packages or what the protocol for the property is for receiving large packages.

Make sure you check your lease before you start decorating and hanging things. Once the move is complete, you can enjoy having a place to call home.

Nancy Simmons Starrs is the founder and president of Apartment Detectives, a D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia apartment-search service.

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