Signing a lease might be one of the scariest things you will do as a young adult. You're agreeing to pay what seems like a fortune every month for at least a year. They seem to be 1,000 pages long and are full of legal jargon that you might not understand. Here are a few tips to follow to make sure that you know exactly what you will be getting yourself into.

1. Read everything

A lot of it is going to seem like common sense stuff, like not engraving you apartment number on your key in case you lose it, but you are going to be liable for everything that it says. It's important that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into and that you know all of your apartment complex's rules. Ignorance is not going to get you out of a fine.

2. Ask questions

If you don't understand something, ask. Your parents and teachers tell you to do that in class all the time. The same thing applies when it comes to signing a lease. If a word is unfamiliar, ask. If you don't understand exactly what a clause means, ask. Chances are that other people have asked the same questions that you are, and that is what the people in the office are for.

3. Bring a parent

If this is your first time signing a lease, bring a parent or other adult with some experience with you. I know that you feel like an adult now and don't think you need to, but chances are they have some experience and know what questions you should be asking.

4. Set aside pleanty of time

Reading everything in your lease will take time. This won't be just a quick trip to the apartment complex. Most of them are going to want you to sign it there instead of taking it home to read and bringing it back. Give yourself at least an hour and a half to really look over everything and make sure that you understand. You don't want to be rushing through it and miss something really important.

5. Make sure you understand the policies that are most important to you

Things like the complex's pet policy are things you need to make sure that you understand. There's probably more to a pet clause than just that pets are allowed. Dogs might have to be under a certain weight. They might only allow dogs and cats, and not allow other pets like fish or hamsters.

Here are a couple of websites that will give you more information about signing a lease and all of the things you need to look for:

The Minefields in Your Lease
Signing a Lease or Rental Agreement FAQ
Understanding Your Lease Obligations