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Apartment Hunting – What to do First

Apartment Hunting – What to do First

Summer is right around the corner and that means college seniors are on the hunt for not only new jobs but also new apartments. Once you have a job with benefits, a 401K, and paid sick days you start to want a space that represents that. A space to have friends, dates, and even family over that you feel proud of and represent for who you are and your style. I know for me I have dreamed for more about my first apartment than anything else in my life even to this day. I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. So excited that I made some really big mistakes that really faulted me. 

When it came time for me to look for an apartment I had no guidance besides when it came to some of the payment. I had to do everything all by myself; the research, the tours, and even understand what I could afford with my income. I was more star-eyed excited than scared or concerned about what I had to pay attention to. By the time I realized everything I had missed, messed up on, or didn’t notice it was too late. Once I realized all this I made a promise to myself I would share everything I learned from my experience. So others can learn from my mistakes. Since I am also in the process of moving/apartment hunting I have created some pre-apartment tips. 

  1. Save your money 
    • Apartments/independent living is expensive even when you are splitting the rent with someone. You have utilities, security deposits, groceries, and extra expenses. You also do not realize how many little things you need (like salt and pepper)
  2. Figure out your budget
    • Yes, Granite countertops, walk-in closets, hardwood floors, and in-unit laundry is nice but unfortunately not every place is budget friendly. Most monthly rent costs more than your average monthly mortgage for a small family home. (Where I live the average 1 bedroom 750 square foot apartment is $1500, and the average mortgage for a 2 bedroom house is $750). 
  3. Consider a Roommate; one you like
    • A roommate(s) is a great way to save money however do not just choose someone to save some money. Choose someone(s) who you’re going to get along with, will pick up after themselves, someone you don’t mind spending a lot of time with, and also someone that can respect the rules agreed upon. If not you may be the only one cleaning the bathroom, washing the dishes, and actually caring for your apartment. 
  4. Wait on the furniture 
    • As exciting as sales, furniture shopping, and the desire to decorate your apartment before you go out and buy anything make sure you have a place. Know the dimensions, know what will actually fit and what will not. 
  5. Understand your commute options 
    • Commuting to and from work is a part of most people’s lives and daily routine. Not everyone wants to travel in a car for 3 hours a day. So take a look at what your options are that may affect the location in which you are looking for an apartment. 
  6. Have a list of things you already have 
    • If you lived in an apartment for college and already have things such as dishes, or pans create a list. This way when you eventually go shopping you do not buy duplicates. If you only have 2 plates make sure you write 2 plates. 
  7. Pets, pets, pets
    • This may sound crazy but what can you tolerate? If you have a pet that you want to take with you make sure that you find a place that allows you to have said pet. Understand that if you have a dog certain places have weight or breed restrictions. Also, know that some places have pet rent.
  8. Know your can and cannot tolerate 
    • Understand that apartments have policies that you may not like; for example, if you are not a fan of unannounced visits make sure you know the apartment’s policy. 
  9. Consider what you want 
    • Prior to looking for an apartment what do you want it to have? Pool? Gym? What amenities do you need to have? It may sound weird but some places charge you $2000 but it includes, 24/7 gym access, pool access, maybe a sauna, or a few other things. These extras are not included in every apartment and maybe you do not want them. But think about what you would prefer. 
  10. Understand that, this may take some time 
    • Looking for an apartment is not easy, and it takes a lot of patience and time. You have to do research and in-person tours. Give yourself some slack and try not to set a crazy time frame. 

When it came to apartment hunting my first time around I was a hopeless mess. I knew nothing. I did not prepare. I did not know what I was doing. I downloaded an app, looked at some photos, and said I’ll call them tomorrow. So many mistakes, so many errors, so many lessons learned. As I have gone through this process with friends and even myself again I realized a lot of people could be in the same position I was when I was apartment hunting the first time. For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing all my tips on apartment hunting; as if I am right by your side through the whole process. Don’t worry Big sis has your bag and I know you’re going to find a beautiful new space to make it your own and create new memories. I got your back and if you need help just as the internet’s unofficial big sis. Xoxo KMH

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1 Comment

  1. September 5, 2023 / 1:42 am

    Thanks for pointing out that it’s also important to consider if pets would be allowed in the place when renting a new apartment. I’m interested in looking for a two-bedroom apartment soon because my sister and I are thinking about moving out to live together. I have to tag along with her because that’s the only way my parents would allow my sister to attend her dream university.

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