Back in March, I began the apartment hunting process and then moved into my dream downtown studio apartment. This is the first apartment I had on my own. My whole life at home, I’ve always shared a space with other people; my family, pets, then roommates and back again with family. So I’m excited about this time to be able to have and cultivate an entire space entirely to my own. Even with the excitement of the move, I was definitely concerned about the apartment hunting process.
Even during this pandemic, people are still moving to new homes.
I wanted to share some of my tips about apartment hunting. A lot goes into deciding on the place that you’ll be calling home for at least the next twelve months.
Below I’ve listed six important considerations while apartment hunting:
Figure out what your budget is.
Take into account what your net income is and your other financial responsibilities. Generally it is advised that your gross income is at least 3 times the monthly rent. But that requirement can vary based on the area of the country/city that you’re in. For example, in some places in NYC, some landlords may require 40x the monthly rent. I would advise looking at the rental listing site in order to check the income requirements that they would have.
Not only will you have your rent, you’ll also have other utilities expenses as well such as gas, electric, water. Don’t forget about the other monthly bills as well such as internet, car payments, food, etc.
All of these things should be taken into consideration when you determine how much money you can comfortably spend each month. You don’t want to be house poor in your residence. If you can’t comfortable afford having a place on your own, consider having a roommate.
What neighborhood do you want to live in? For my place, I knew that I wanted to stay centrally located and I also wanted to stay close to work since I work full-time outside of my home (at least I did before being forced to work from home due to the current pandemic).
This is pretty much a golden rule for any city that you are interested in renting in: The more central your location, the higher in rent you will pay.
For me, it was worth the bit of extra money to pay to be close to work and have various amenities as well. Where do you spend most of your time? Do you want to stay close to family or your church?
I would suggest using Google maps to provide a timeframe to inform you how long it takes to commute to the places that you go most often. There are many online rental sites to use in order to help ease the apartment hunt. Some of those sites are For Rent, Apartment List and even Facebook marketplace.
3. Apartment vs. House
Apartments generally have some utilities (such as water/gas, sewage) included with the monthly price. For a house, many landlords require the tenants to pay ALL utilities. Be sure to ask ahead of time what is and isn’t included for your monthly rent.
Not all apartments have washer & dryers in unit. Will the residence have an in-unit laundry? If not, it would be important to find out if there is laundry located on the premises via a laundry room.
Some apartments also offer to rent out a washer and dryer for a monthly fee. If the washer & dryer if not included at the residence nor located on the premises, be sure to find out the location of the local laundromat.
5. Pet Friendly
If you’ve got a fur baby member, make sure that your residence is pet friendly. Usually pet friendly residences require a deposit plus monthly pet rent (even though the pets don’t have a job. *side eye*). Some complexes also have breed restrictions for dogs or even a weight limit (such as no pet over 25 lbs.)
6. Conditions of Premises
The upkeep of the apartment or house can be a good indication of how hands on or negligent your landlord/complex will be.
Are there unfinished projects? Is the grass cut well? Leaky faucet? Take notice of all of the things at the new residence.
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Comment down below your personal tips for apartment hunting!