Searching for your first apartment is exciting. You’re about to move out on your own (or with roommates) and get out of the parent’s house. You know you want space, perhaps even an extra room, built-in laundry and parking. But, you’re not rich, so how do you decide what amenities really matter and which can wait for a future apartment?
Decide the Roommate Situation
You can’t look at apartments without deciding who you will be living with. If you are living alone, you will be spending a lot more each month on all of those flashy amenities you want. If, however, you are looking to have a roommate or two, you can probably afford a nicer apartment with all of the bells and whistles — because rent is being shared. But, you still need to find out what amenities everyone you will live with want too, which means coming to an agreement that makes it all work out.
Where Do You Want to Live?
For some renters, it is all about the neighborhood. But, some neighborhoods come with a larger price tag than others. Therefore, consider the area, what it has to offer and if it’s worth the price or not. The neighborhood you live in is just as much of an amenity as the swimming pool, dishwasher or extra storage you’re looking for in your apartment.
Think of the Layout
How private of a space do you really want? This is especially important if you’re living with roommates. Are the bedrooms enough space from the common areas so that roommates won’t bother each other? How open is the living space? While an open floor plan might be fun, it leaves little privacy — especially if you aren’t living alone. At the same time, a closed off, private floor plan means less space and a cramped feel.
What Amenities Can You Not Live Without
There are a lot of amenities you can get with your apartment, but what amenities can you really not live without? Will you go crazy without a dishwasher? Would you feel unsafe without a doorman? Make a list of the things that wouldn’t damper your stay in that apartment — or even make you feel uncomfortable. Then, use the other amenities as “possible or would be nice” instead of “must haves”.
Take a Look at Some Apartments
You know how much you can afford. Start browsing some apartments in your price range to see what type of stuff is offered. You might find dishwashers in one, but larger bedrooms in another. You can see what you may have to trade off to get the right neighborhood, floor plan and living space you need.