Fact: Adulting is stressful, no doubt about it.
Many of you know that I’ve been adulting a little more than usual lately: I’ve been in the process of figuring out life after graduation, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been doing pretty well! However, there’s a whole lot more to adulting than I realized. We all know about getting a job and an apartment, but there’s little things like renter’s insurance and changing addresses, and all that good stuff. Yikes!
Since these things can be pretty stressful, I want to help relieve the stress for people who might be in my position soon. Specifically, I want to talk about apartment hunting. Before I start, I want to tell a little personal anecdote so you know my level of knowledge going into this process: I currently live in a university-owned apartment. For those of you who don’t have those living arrangements at your university, they are basically a glorified dorm, meaning you don’t have to sign an actual lease, worry about utilities, or anything like that. Just one flat payment and you’re good to go for the school year! So when faced with the task of finding an apartment in a different city, I looked a bit like:
That’s right, excitement mixed with a little terror. The usual, ya know? Luckily, when faced with a task, I get pretty serious about it. I kid you not, I made a huge SPREADSHEET comparing the different apartments I was considering. Yes, I have that much time on my hands.
Anyway, this process can be quite stressful if you’re not properly prepared, but I’m here to (hopefully) lend you a helping hand!
Do set a budget for yourself
And don’t forget any extra fees you may need! I won’t share my budget, but after knowing what my salary would be, and discussing with my parents, I came up with a number I was pretty sure I didn’t want to go over each month.
If you don’t set a clear limit for yourself, it can be easy to get distracted by amenities you might not be able to actually afford. However, if you feel like a certain amenity (i.e. in-unit laundry, extra security, etc.) is worth paying a little more for, then factor that into your budget.
Don’t rely solely on online reviews
I used Apartments.com to start my apartment-hunting journey (not sponsored, by the way, I just love their site!), and they allow people to leave reviews for any apartment listing. While I recommend reading through these, just be sure to take them at face value. One person bashed on an AWESOME apartment building because he refused to pay a bill and they sent a collection’s agency on him. Like, that’s his fault, and it shouldn’t reflect poorly on the apartment complex.
Do ask a LOT of questions
When it comes to questions, embrace your inner toddler when you go on an apartment tour. Literally, ask anything that comes to mind, whether it’s about something that piqued your interest, a concern you have, or any random thought. For instance, since I’m a blogger and will occasionally have brands send products to me, I wanted to be sure there was a safe and secure way to receive packages.
One way to make sure you cover all your concerns is to bring a list of prepared questions. I promise, the leasing agent won’t be irritated with you. A huge part of their job is to make sure that you’re informed.
Don’t be afraid to leave an appointment without signing a lease
I assume apartment hunting is like trying on wedding dresses. You picked out a few from the racks and went back to try them on. Sometimes you step into one and immediately know it’s not for you. Other times, you like the dress but you’re not completely sold. But when you try on the perfect one for you, you’ll know right away.
I’ve never tried on wedding dresses before, but I’m pretty sure this is a valid metaphor.
Do ask to see a vacant apartment
Apartment hunting can be difficult if you’re doing it in advance because the apartment you may sign a lease for could be currently occupied. And since knocking on a stranger’s door and asking to see their living situation is a bit rude, you may be shown a model apartment. The models are great so you can see how you can arrange your furniture, but they’re also in perfect condition. When you go to your viewing appointment, ask if you can see a vacant apartment, even if it’s not necessarily the one you’d live in. This gives you the opportunity to see how the units are actually maintained. Notice any odd smells, changes in the floor plan, and other tiny details the apartment complex may be trying to hide with the model.
Don’t forget to bring proof of income
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that you have some sort of proof of income. This could either be a weekly pay stub or an offer letter with your yearly salary on it. This lets the apartment complex you’re signing the lease at know that you will be able to afford your rent every month. While it might seem like a small detail, it’s quite important in the leasing process.
I hope these tips were helpful to those of you who may be apartment hunting in the near future! If you can only take one thing from this post, let it be this: Always ask questions and don’t take everything at face value!
Have you ever apartment hunted? What tips would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let me know!
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