Finding Your First Apartment
Finding your first apartment is usually the most difficult, as you navigate budgeting and lease negotiation to ensure you get what you need, often in a new and unfamiliar city. What’s more, your parents are often in a different city, or have left you on your own to figure it out.
The first step in the search for your first apartment is to determine your budget. A general rule is that you don’t want to spend more than 30% of your net income (which is what you get after all of the deductions to your check, like insurance and taxes) on housing. However, it’s always better to spend less. Emergencies happen, so you want to have some savings as a safety net.
When you’re figuring out how much you can afford to spend every month on rent, don’t forget these three things:
- Size: Find out the exact square footage of the apartment so you can compare simple cost values with others. Divide the monthly rent by the number of square feet to understand how the price per square foot of space changes from one apartment and neighborhood to the next.
- Utilities: Ask what utilities are included in the rent price. Hot water? Gas? Trash? Etc. If they aren’t included make sure you understand how these utilities along with cable and internet access will impact your total monthly expenses.
- Laundry: Check to see if there is a laundry facility in the building, and if so, how much does it cost to wash/dry a load? If not, where is the nearest laundromat?
Read Next: How to Read Your Apartment Lease