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April 23 2017

Mastering the Art of Apartment Searching

With the end of college comes a new era of living. As soon as you walk across the stage, it is time to say goodbye to the dorm room and hello to your brand new apartment. For those who are in the process of finding your new home and furniture while ballin’ on a budget, follow this list of do’s and don’ts.

Do your research
You may see an apartment that appears absolutely amazing and is within your budget, but make sure to check out the reviews. The most seemingly perfect apartment often has non-negotiable flaws, like unreliable management, excessive fees, and regular pests. Look on sites like Yelp, Apartment.com and Google for honest reviews of the residences. Follow the common rule of thumb that if it seems too good to be true, it likely is.

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Don’t spend all your money on brand new furniture
You may be a college graduate, but it is unlikely you have thousands of dollars to blow just on furniture. Instead use free applications like “5 Miles,” “LetGo,” or “Offer Up,” as well as the Market feature on Facebook, to find used furniture. Many of the items people sell are in near perfect condition and cost a small fraction of the original cost. Also, make sure to ask family members and friends; they often have items they are looking to get rid of and will be happy to help out.

Do ask questions
Getting an apartment is a huge step into adulthood that should not be taken lightly. Make sure to spend a lot of time asking the leasing agents as many questions as possible. Find out how rent is paid, included utilities, additional fees, security features, how parking is handled, how often the length can be renewed and for how long, community noise levels, and much more. Many more specific questions can be found online, so make to sure develop a thorough list of the most crucial aspects. You’re going to be paying a lot of money for your home, so it’s totally OK to ask a lot of questions.

Don’t get an apartment without visiting it first
This is just as important as doing research online. Photos only show so much about a residence or the community in which you’ll reside. Spend some time walking through the community, looking at all the rooms of the apartment, and checking out the community features. Aside from having a better idea of what kind of furniture you will need to purchase for your new room, you’ll also have a better sense of the community’s security, maintenance and amenities.

Do set a realistic budget
Unfortunately, apartments do not just pay for themselves. Make sure you have a job that will provide enough money for all the new expenses. Aside from rent, you will likely need to pay for additionally utilities, such as phone, cable, internet, electricity, water, sewer, and trash. Additionally, you will need to take renter’s insurance, groceries, laundry (if you don’t have units in the apartment), gas, loan payments, spending, savings, and any other obligatory payments into consideration. It seems like a lot, but writing out all the costs and income truly prevents you from going from profitable to flat-out broke.

Searching for an apartment is exciting, especially right out of college, but do not let it dictate all rationality. As long as you have a reliable and realistic plan, you will be able to find the place that is perfect for you and that will ensure you continue to thrive post-graduation.

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