Apartment Hunting

Okay, I know I haven’t written at all this week, but this is still going to be a quick update because I’m getting old (meaning it’s almost 11:00 pm and I’m exhausted).

Yesterday, I visited six apartments in an attempt to find one that I would occupy in September. It may seem ridiculous to try to make this decision in April, but I live in a college town (as in there are four colleges here), so September would be a major time to move. This means I’m trying to get an application done and on a reservation list ASAP. After visiting these apartments (which had been narrowed down after careful review on the internet), I realized that I have no idea what it means to apartment hunt.

Is it better to get the cheapest apartment that doesn’t seem that nice? Should I get the smaller, pricier apartment that I think is cuter? How important is it to have certain utilities included? How much of my income should be dedicated to rent?

In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve never rented an apartment. At eighteen, I went to undergrad, where I lived in dorms for four years. For one semester, I was in University apartments, but it isn’t really the same, since it was the same, basic housing price. When I graduated, I moved back home to save money while I got my MSW. Now that I know I have a full-time job soon, apartment hunting seems to be the logical step, and I will be living alone.

Does anyone have any good tips on apartment hunting? Just trying to pick the best place. I’d hate to regret this decision…

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2 responses to “Apartment Hunting

  1. I think the rule of thumb is 1/4 of your income should/will be spent on housing. Don’t be too afraid to go a little over that, though.

    Having utilities included doesn’t matter too much in my opinion, especially when you’re on your own. We don’t have them included and even with the two of us it’s not a big deal. I think if you had a family of 4 it would be different. However, make sure to ask what the average tenant does pay for utilities so you know what you will really be paying for housing each month. If you want an idea of how much we pay and stuff, give us a call.

    You can haggle, even with apartment compaines, so remember that not everything is set in stone. It’s kind of like buying a car. For example, when we rented here I got a wooded view for the same price as a parking lot view because the only places they had were deeper in the apartment complex and I told them I’d really wanted one closer to the road, so we made a deal. Don’t be afraid to ask about little stuff like that.

    And my final advice is storage space. I dunno if it’ll be as big of a deal for you since you’ll be close to home, but our apartment has a little storage room stacked with tubs and boxes of stuff (mostly Christmas stuff, as you can imagine). Some places don’t give you storage space at all. Don’t know if you’ll need it, but it’s something to think about.

    That’s all I can really think of right now. Very smart to be looking now: you can actually get a better rent by signing the lease on the off season. Feel free to give us a call anytime!

    Hope that helps!

    • Thanks Skyler! I might give you guys a call at some point. Would the 1/4 thing be higher if utilities were included? One of my top places has everything but electric included (water, sewer, trash, gas, heat, and wifi), but is more than 1/4 of what I’ll be making after taxes (approximately…since I haven’t started yet and don’t know for sure). I don’t know, just wondering.

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