The thought of living in your own space always comes with great feelings. It’s an opportunity to be independent and have your privacy. But it’s quite an intimidating experience, and if you don’t approach it smartly and weigh your options carefully, it could turn into a nightmare. So, here are some helpful tips for finding your first apartment.
#1. Determine How Much You Can Afford
Before you start searching for your first apartment, it’s advisable to determine how much rent you can afford. Don’t try to impress anybody. Choose an apartment you can comfortably pay for. Nothing is as embarrassing as being kicked out of your apartment due to your inability to pay rent.
Ordinarily, your rent should be about 30% of your monthly income. Most times, if your rent is within this range, you can comfortably pay without stressing yourself financially.
But if you use a large percentage of your income to pay rent, you may go broke before the end of the month. Even if you have a side hustle that earns you extra cash, it’s still not advisable to spend a large chunk of your income on rent.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, families that spend more than 30% of their income on rent are “cost-burdened.”
So, before you start looking for an apartment, review your daily expenses and debts owed to people. You should have enough money to pay your debts, settle your daily expenses, and have some savings after paying your rent. In a nutshell, considering how much rent you can pay is one of the best tips for finding your first apartment.
#2. Consider the Area You Want to Live In
Considering the area you want to live in is also among the tips for finding your first apartment. As a rule, always consider a neighborhood that’s close to your workplace. The neighborhood you want to live in should have attractions and businesses you find interesting.
If you live in a neighborhood without some good attractions, boredom could start to set in.
Let me remind you that the farther you live from your office, the higher you will pay for transportation. Always have this at the back of your mind when searching for an apartment.
Of course, you have to consider your options carefully. For instance, houses in major metropolitan areas are more expensive than those a bit further away from the city.
So, check if it will be more cost-effective to go for higher rent and pay low transportation or go for lower rent and pay high transportation.
It’s important to also consider your comfort. Even though you want to cut costs, you shouldn’t do that at the expense of your comfort. If living too far from the city will be too stressful for you, consider other options. You may be lucky enough to get a good deal around the metropolitan areas.
#3. Decide if You Need a Roommate or Not
Once you have an idea of the cost of renting an apartment, the next step is to determine whether you want to stay alone or have a roommate. While living with an apartment mate is awesome, it comes with challenges.
For instance, if you share your apartment with someone, you will afford a better apartment with great facilities. But it will be at the expense of your privacy.
However, if you don’t have a problem living with someone else in the apartment, having a roommate is a great idea. It will ease the cost of renting the apartment.
But if you like living an isolated lifestyle, having a roommate could complicate your living experience.
So, do your analysis, check how much you will be saving if you have a roommate, and ask yourself if it’s worth sacrificing your privacy.
If you decide to have an apartment mate, here are factors to consider when choosing one:
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Apartment Mate
- Trust: Before you share your apartment with anybody, ensure that you trust that person. Do a thorough investigation on the person, know their personality, reach out to their friends, and ask for a reference. Otherwise, you may end up being an apartment mate to a thief or serial killer.
- Payment of Bills: Discuss bill payments with your potential roommate before you start living together. If possible, have a signed agreement on how you will be paying the bills.
- Neatness: Neatness is an important factor you shouldn’t neglect when sharing a living space with someone. Even if the person is your close friend, ensure that they are neat before accepting them. It’s disgusting to come home to the smell of dirty dishes and laundry and picking up dirty underwear in the living room.
These are some of the important factors you should consider when choosing an apartment mate. Other factors are sleeping habits, love life, interests and hobbies, character, etc.
#4. Ask Questions About Utilities
One of the tips to find your first apartment is to ask questions about utilities. It’s heartbreaking when you find an apartment within your budget and end up spending hundreds of dollars on utilities every month.
Therefore, as you determine how much rent you can afford, also include other monthly utility expenses like heat, electricity, internet, etc.
#5. Assess the Safety of the Building
You can’t neglect safety when renting your first apartment. Ideally, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the building is safe for tenants to live in. But in most cases, landlords may not care.
So, before you rent an apartment, ensure that the building’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are still working. Also, check for a fire escape and ensure that the entrance is well-lit.
Again, ask your landlord if they will change the locks before you move in. Also, confirm if your landlord tested the building for mold in the past five to ten years.
These are some of the tips to find your first apartment. I know you are feeling excited right now, but try to weigh your options carefully. Otherwise, you end up renting the wrong apartment.