After my third year of college, I finally made the decision to move off campus into an apartment. It was time, and I was excited to live on my own for the first time. I couldn’t wait to start apartment hunting. When I sat down and started searching for places online, I didn’t realize how many factors could influence my final decision. These are just a few of the things I took into consideration when I decided to rent an apartment.
- Price. Since I was still in college with a full-time class schedule and a part-time job, I needed to be financially savvy. I set a budget and explored the areas I could see myself living in. I compared prices for a handful of apartments that I thought looked the best and determined which would be the most worthy of rent each month. Once I set a budget, I didn’t feel tempted to pay more than that.
- Location. There are so many desirable neighborhoods in and around my city, so I started narrowing them down based on proximity to my school, my part-time job and the best running and biking routes. I also made sure to choose locations I would feel the most safe in if I ever got home from work after dark.
- Utilities. I didn’t research this one very deeply, and I paid for it. I realized a little too late that none of my utilities were included in my rent (sometimes water, sewer and garbage pick up is included). Since I workout every day – and Florida is very hot in the summertime – I used much more water than I expected. Always make sure to ask about utilities and if anything is included in your rent.
- The Landlord. You will rely heavily on this person to perform timely maintenance, return your security deposit and be available in case of emergencies. Take a good look at your lease – there should be a page in there stating the landlord’s responsibilities.
- Amenities. Amenities include things such as a washer and dryer, dishwasher, pool and a fitness center. My first apartment had none of these, but that’s because I paid a much lower monthly rent. I decided that paying a gym membership each month was less expensive than paying a higher rent to live somewhere with a smaller fitness center with only a few pieces of equipment. Do your research and crunch the numbers to get the best price and value.
- Parking. A private lot for residents is always nice, but most times, off-street parking is available. Be careful of hidden fees here – don’t get trapped into paying a steep parking permit fee. This could push your monthly rent out of your budget range.
I ended up finding a great place for me based on all the things I was looking for. Although taking the time to crunch the numbers and compare and visit different places, it is worth it to find a place you love at a price you love.