Advice to Keep In Mind When Looking For Apartments

By Rene Santana on February 5, 2019

Looking for an apartment is never as easy as it sounds. You have to consider if you’re moving in with friends, classmates, or strangers, how big, well-kept, and close the place is to campus. And lastly, but definitely not least, how much rent will be. The neat thing about moving in with more than three people is the ability to split rent, making the cost of rent more affordable. And while you may not be thinking about moving into a house and signing a mortgage anytime soon, it’d be best to get started on developing solid habits about renting a place.

Open Apartment Window

via Pixabay

The first thing to remember is first, and last month’s rent, plus the security deposit when deciding upon a place This cost can be split, making it easier to pay upfront. While this is a minor detail when looking at a place, it is helpful to consider if the landlord will have you pay for the first and last month, and if they are willing to refund you the security—most places don’t, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Unless you choose to live in the dorms, get to know your next roommate before you sign a lease agreement with them. Perhaps you’re going to a college within your state and a high school friend of yours is as well, it would completely sensible to try to room with them as you would already have a good sense of who they are. Maybe you had a classmate that you frequently struck conversations with before, during, or after class, in which case you could ask if they’d be willing to cut the cost of an apartment. If you are left with having to find a stranger, then before having them move in with you, ask them if they’d be willing to hang out sometime to get comfortable being around.

Know your budget before you look for an apartment. If you are leaving the dorm rooms to rent an apartment, it would be best to sit down and figure out your expenses to get an idea of how much your cost of living is. Figuring this cost out first will make it easier in the long run when you are looking for an apartment as you would be more aware of what you can and can’t afford. It can also help you figure out what is important to you and cut out expenses you don’t need to afford your rent or other important expenses.

When possible, always tour the apartment with a friend or family member. Get a solid, good feel from thoroughly walking in and out of the apartment complex. Take note of anything that catches your eye, such as floor space, storage area, tile to carpet ratio, and imperfections in the walls, cabinets, and doors. Talking and getting a second opinion about a place is the best way to know if it is the best option or not.

Ask questions about utilities, pets, and guests. Ask about these especially if they are mentioned vaguely in the apartment description. Perhaps the landlord allows pets, but for a high fee, or you’re allowed to have a guest over for a full week before you are charged with a fee. And lastly, it is always best to know what portion of the utilities you are responsible for—almost every place has the tenant pay of electricity, but other utilities may be covered by the landlord.

Be ready to jump on a place that fits your needs. This is a tricky one as you need to be okay with making a quick decision in a moment’s notice. Apartments that look like a great deal are truly a great deal, but they are gone within a few day’s time, especially during summer when college students are either moving in and out of apartments. Knowing your budget and preferences helps immensely when deciding on the fly. And while you may have to make a snap decision, I would still strongly recommend taking a tour of the place to know exactly what you and your roommate are signing up for.

Lastly, you would also need to factor in moving costs. If you have classmates or friends that you know have a truck or similar size vehicle, it would be a plus to ask them to help and pay them in food, gas money, or just cash rather than renting moving equipment. If you choose to go with a rental, consider what you would need to move in the rental and see if you could move some of your valuables in smaller loads and fit them in your car. While this last note relates to college towns more than college cities where you’re moving more than 20 miles out, it is wise to factor whatever the cost is to move into the total cost of your first transaction when renting your new apartment.

There are few months left till summer break, but better now than later to figure out what you want, must have, and can afford before you start looking for an apartment. Until then, now would be a great time to start striking up conversations with your friends and fellow classmates about potentially moving in together and start checking out places to rent on Uloop’s housing page!

CWU Graduate | Writer | Editor @WaldorfPress | Favors Tech, UX, and the Serial Comma.

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