Moving into your first apartment is a rite of passage for people of every generation. The unique blend of exhilaration and fear of taking this big step is unmatched by very few other transitions in life. Although it can often be overwhelming trying to choose your first apartment, these five tips can help serve as your guide:
FIGURE OUT YOUR PRIORITIES: You will most likely be working with a budget that will necessitate that you prioritize certain features over others. Before you begin your apartment search, make a list of everything that you ideally want in a new place. Then begin the process of ranking these by priority. This list will help you as you conduct the search and narrow down the best overall contenders. An example of factors to consider include neighborhood locations, total square footage, swimming pool availability, commute to work, workout facilities, and free parking. Bonus tip: If you happen to be in Texas like me, then you can get help on your search with UMoveFree (check out some UMoveFree reviews here).
BUDGET: Obviously you will need a good idea of your monthly budget prior to starting your apartment hunting. However, what many people neglect to consider are the other costs associated with living on your own. Be sure to not forget to account for utility bills, parking, building fees, cable or satellite, internet, and more. Adding all of these costs and including them in your estimated monthly budget will give you a clearer picture of what you can afford before you even step foot into the first leasing office.
CONSIDER RENTERS INSURANCE: Many landlords will require that you show proof of renters insurance. This type of insurance protects your belongings in the case of an emergency or natural disaster while also providing a degree of liability coverage. Regardless of whether or not this is required at your new residence, it is always a good idea to have because you never know when you will need it. The peace of mind provided by this low-cost insurance is invaluable.
BE READY TO MOVE: Be ready to move, both figuratively and literally. Especially in hot markets, the best apartments go quickly. Once you are ready to begin your search, you need to be prepared to be able to jump on the best options right away in case they do not last. In order to be ready, make sure you have the essential paperwork prepared and ready to go. Potential landlords will likely ask for credit history, proof of income in the form of current pay stubs, recent bank statements, and reference contact information. You will also need to have accessible cash for the security deposit and first month of rent.
DO NOT NEGLECT THE FINE PRINT: Once you have found the perfect apartment for all of your needs, it is time to sign the leasing contract. Before you sign anything, be sure to take the time to pour over all of the details of the contract so that you fully understand all that you are agreeing to. Once you move in, be sure to take pictures of the empty apartment so that you have photographic evidence should any issues arise later down the road.
With a little planning and preparation, you can ensure that you find the best apartment to fit all of your needs. You will always remember this first solo home so be sure to make it count!