4 Tips For First-Time Apartment Hunters

By Brittany Hawes on June 13, 2018

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Every first-time apartment hunter wants their new home to be, dare I say it? Magical.

There’s something especially important about choosing your very first apartment. Be it your first big venture outside of mom and pop’s house or a newfound journey outside of the horribly cramped, smelly dormitory, every moving student wants the place that they’re going to be calling their own to be completely perfect …for you.

Maybe you know the basic things that your first apartment should have. You know how many roommates you want, what amenities you’re looking for, how much you’re going to be able to pay for rent, and how close it should be to campus or to your job. Or maybe you haven’t thought that far ahead just yet. Not to fear! This article will tell you all that you need to know as a first-time apartment hunter to get you on your way to finding your dream apartment.

Let’s get started!

first-time apartment hunter

Image via Pixabay.com

Tip #1: Know how much you can spend for the rent

Arguably, the most important factor for first-time apartment hunters who just so happen to be students is going to be the apartment’s price. More specifically, how much can you afford to pay towards rent every month?

If you have a scholarship, financial aid, or loans that you plan on putting towards your rent, make sure that you have sat down and calculated how much you’re expecting to get from any of these outside sources. Make a budget. Add up how much rent you’re going to owe over the entire length of your lease. See how much you can afford to draw from these funds and put towards rent and if these outside sources will cover the rent.

If you don’t have enough money to cover rent but you’re very close to reaching it, consider looking at slightly cheaper apartments or even getting a part-time job. Balancing a job and school can be tough, but you can do it! If you’re a well-disciplined person and you know that your coursework allows you to have a few days or hour-blocks off, you’ll be able to manage a part-time job.

If all else fails? Consider asking your parents for help. If you really love this apartment and it falls within your parents’ budget, I’m sure they will be willing to lend what they can. But don’t ask for too much! If money is an issue, you have to be willing to downgrade on some amenities and other non-important aspects of an apartment.

Which brings me to my next tip …

Tip #2 – Don’t go overboard!

I get it. I really do. As a first-time apartment hunter, you’ll want to pull out all the stops when it comes to renting your new home. You want a place where you’ll be able to host the biggest parties, the place with that banana-shaped swimming pool, that place where you’ll be able to run around in a one bed, one bath paradise, in all of your naked glory.

Hold up! Slow your roll, partner! Those things can be great to have and all … but can you really afford it? Maybe you think you can, but you’re going to be forced to cut expenses elsewhere, whether you like it or not. The ax might fall on your gas money, or grocery money, or money that you could be using to go out with your friends and hang. Before you dish out that extra two hundred dollars towards rent, be sure to think of the other things you could be spending that extra cash on instead of a pool that’s shaped like an odd fruit.

Tip #3 – Check out the neighborhood

I’ve harped on this in another article of mine, but this is something that I neglected to check into myself when I was a first-time apartment hunter.

How safe you feel in your apartment should be the number one priority when you go apartment hunting. I’ve heard nightmare stories of people who have unknowingly rented apartments in areas where theft and drug busts are a common occurrence. People have had their cars broken into, their speakers ripped out, and all of their possessions stolen. They’ve woken up to gunshots down the street and police chases in their backyards. It’s not exactly a stress-free environment, and as a student, stress is the last thing we need more of.

Do a thorough check of the crime rates in your desired neighborhood. If the outlook is grim, you might consider checking elsewhere.

Tip #4 – Know how many roommates you’re okay with

Think of how many people you’d like to live with. Is the number 0? Or is it as many as you can squeeze into the unit? You should figure this out quick because many apartments, especially student housing, will require you to share your space with up to three other people.

If roommates aren’t really your thing, I’d suggest looking into privately-owned apartments. You’ll be able to choose how many people live with you, and these apartments are often cheaper than student housing.

Did you find these tips helpful as a first-time apartment hunter? If you have more tips, feel free to share them with others by commenting below!

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Hi there! My name's Britt and I'm a senior majoring in English major at Florida State University. I have these crazy, big dreams of traveling the entire world and writing novels in my spare time. I love music, food, and the Japanese culture. I plan on teaching English in Japan upon graduation from Florida State. My first YA novel, Twisted, was published by Deep Sea Publishing Company in 2014. It won a Readers' Favorite Book Award that same year. Alongside schoolwork, I'm working hard on the second book in the Twisted series as well as a number of other novels.

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