Graduation is over, your college career has come to a close and now you’re ready to get out on your own. Before you can really take off in your career you need a steady place to live. Finding an apartment can be a little stressful, especially if this is your first time living away from home. To help you get started, here are a few apartment-hunting tips for the newly graduated.
Make a Budget First
Don’t even bother looking at apartment listings until you know what you can afford. That means sitting down and creating a budget. Do you already have a job? You’ll need that income to determine how much you can afford. Also, remember your apartment manager is going to look at your income too — and they may require you to make a certain amount to qualify for the rent. You don’t want to spend your entire check on rent, so make sure you have enough for rent, food, utilities, transportationand other expenses.
Make Sure You’re Application Worthy
There are a few things that you need to check up on before you start filling out applications. First, check your credit report and make sure there are no errors or negative reports. Then, get your rental history in order — if you have rented before. Last, make sure your employment history is up to date and you have paycheck stubs to present to the manager with your application.
You might find a great apartment that has all of the amenities you want and it’s a great price, but if you have a two-hour commute to your new job, where is the benefit? Make sure you’re picking an apartment that is in close proximity to your new job, close to other neighborhood amenities (gas stations, grocery stores, etc.) and isn’t in a shady part of town. If you’re moving to a city you don’t know, drive around a little and get used to the area — and make sure it is a place you really want to live first.
Know the Costs
There are costs associated with renting that a lot of first time renters aren’t aware of. Some costs you’ll need to verify with the apartment manager include:
- The amount of security deposit required
- Any pet deposits required
- What utilities you will pay in addition to your rent
- Application fee (and whether or not it is refundable)
- First and last month’s rent