Sign here, initial there?

You find the perfect apartment and can’t wait to move in and start your new life. You sign that contract, put in the deposit, and get your keys.

Yay! Did you read that contract? Did you know you just signed away your life? Your car can be repossessed if you miss rent, your pets could be taken away, and your belongings gone?

Okay, not really, but you could miss out on a lot if you don’t read your entire contract.

The following are four apartment complexes around UTSA’s main campus. Find out about their floor plans, rates, and what apartment complexes aren’t telling you, as well as some interesting words from a leasing agent about reading that contract.

The Outpost: For $280 in fees and the deposit, and up to $869 for a 1-bed/1-bath (1B1B) or down to $529 for a 4B4B. You can enjoy cozy living here with free Internet and cable, a swimming pool, entertainment center, fitness center, and even a theater room!

“I love living here. It’s so convenient and close to school and to IH-10,” freshmen biology major, Jessica Corraso said.

The Reserve: You won’t find a 1B1B here, but if you can find a roommate, you can enjoy living here for about $595 a month in a two, three or four bedroom apartment, after $300 in fees and deposits, of course. The amenities here include a computer lab, fitness center, free tanning, a pool, entertainment center, and for your convenience, individual leases.

 “On a nice day, I can manage to walk to school! It’s great living here,”  junior architecture major, Monica Davis said.

Avalon Place: The only green community around here.

“I absolutely love living here. I’m a senior and ever since my freshmen year, I’ve always been hopping between different apartments, and this is by far my favorite one! It’s safe, clean, and the administration are always helpful” senior communication major, Amy Anderson said.

Avalon Place amenities include recycling services, a fitness center, a study room, a pool, volleyball and basketball courts, and free tanning, among a list of other things. For a 1B1B you can live green for $899 a month, $700 for 2B2B, or $625 for 4B4B.

University Oaks: After $200 for the deposit and fees, University Oaks offers a 1B1B apartment for $998 or a 2B2B for $686 a month.

“It’s not the biggest apartment in the world, and it’s a little expensive living on my own, but it’s very convenient to be able to walk to school everyday, instead of having the hassle of trying to find impossible parking,” says sophomore engineering major, Mike Donald.

These might seem like good deals, but you can find even better deals if you actually go through and read your contract. Most of the time the management at apartment complexes won’t tell you of the “re-lease deals” they offer, or the “paying on time” deals.

For example, two of the three apartments mentioned offer a carpet cleaning after each new lease you sign. Another apartment offers $150 off after re-leasing with them, and another offers $50 off after every six months of paying your rent on time.

Reading your contract isn’t just important because of these hidden deals, it’s just as important to read them because of important information you might need to know involving rules and regulations that you might not be aware of.

For example, most apartments will allow you to have more than one car per resident in an apartment, but they won’t allow motorcycles. Or, how goldfish will apply to that $200 animal deposit fee. If your car isn’t getting towed, you’re getting fined for cigarette butts on the ground.

Some complexes will even make you sign some sort of a document literally stating that they are not responsible for you, your health, or your personal possessions, even during a robbery.

“Hardly anyone who rents an apartment or house will ever read their contract, because to them it’s just a list of do’s and don’ts,” says local leasing agent Ray Gonzalez.

“However, I can understand the excitement of college students wanting to hurry out of their parents house for the first time and move into their own apartment, so they often either skim over the first page of the contract, or avoid it completely and sign it without any knowledge of not-so-common rules and regulations that particular apartment complex might have,” Gonzales said.

“Some apartments might have the price that’s within your budget, and just enough living space, but they could also have obscure rules like not being able to go out onto your balcony or patio after a certain time. Most apartments offer pest-control, but without your knowledge, as in, they will knock on your door and if you don’t answer they can just unlock your door and walk in, so sometimes it’s important to either read the contract or ask questions that might concern you,” adds Gonzalez.

Taking an extra five minutes to sit down and read your contract before you sign it has the potential to save you from a world of trouble.

Reading your contract does have its benefits besides knowing what you’re getting into.  You might find something you don’t agree with or understand, so you can ask for them to elaborate more on that issue. Or, if you feel like a daredevil, sign it and hope you don’t get caught with anything you’re not supposed to.