Apartment Hunting

Shopping for Apartments

Do you have a job lined up?  If so, then searching for a place to live is a must.  
Here are some tips to help make your apartment search easier.

An apartment building
Where to start?

  • City-data.com gives renters feedback on neighborhoods in an unfamiliar city.
  • Craigslist.com, Rent.com, and Apartments.com each have a vast library of apartment listings throughout the country.
  • The Internet will be your friend when apartment searching but use other sources in order to find the best deal.
  • Check out the newspaper classified sections.

How much is too much for rent?

  • The rule of thumb is to spend around 25% of your take home pay on rent.
  • If the cost of your apartment becomes greater than this, then it’s a good idea to add a roommate into your living situation. Begin with the people you know and then go from there.
  • Having a roommate will allow you to save more money and help pay off your student loans faster.

What to consider when making a final decision? 

  • Ask yourself what amenities are most important to you and which ones you are willing to sacrifice.
  • The apartment may have a washer/dryer unit but has an older kitchen setup.
  • Choose which things you have to have and be willing to sacrifice certain amenities that may not be as important to you.

Cost cutting ideas

  • Live on the outskirts of the city. Rent is usually cheaper
  • Look for new complexes.  There will usually be rent promotions in order to fill units.
  • Negotiate the rent down.  If the landlord really needs to get their apartment rented then see if there may be some wiggle room with the price
  • Find a Roommate. I know you're done with college, but having a roommate will help lower the amount of money that you will be putting towards rent.

Other items to add to your apartment budget

  • Kitchen: Pots, pans, dish towels, baking dishes, plates, cups and glasses, flatware, coffee maker or kettle, microwave, spices, condiments and preparation essentials like knives, utensils and cutting board.
  • Dining: Table and chairs or TV trays.
  • Living room: Place to sit (futon, floor cushions, couch), TV, bookshelf, lamp(s) and music source (laptop, iPod dock).
  • Bedroom: Bed, dresser, nightstand, mirror, sheets, pillow(s), blankets, bedspread and lamp.
  • Bathroom: Shower curtain, toiletries, bath mat, towels, toilet brush and plunger.
  • Miscellaneous: Cleaning supplies (including a mop, broom, dustpan, vacuum cleaner and sponges), iron and ironing board, decorations, paint, curtains or blinds, supplies for your pet, light bulbs, paper products and laundry supplies.

Remember this stuff adds up so shop around for the best prices.

Source: Affordable Apartments for College Graduates