Finding an apartment right out of freshman year, college in general, or any reason can be frightening. There are so many options and it's going to be your home, so you want to make it great.
I have had my fair share of apartment drama and I have learned a lot. I have shared some of the things I have learned with examples. Now that my partner and I are planning our move for after we graduate I am having to look at thousands of apartments and have had these lessons reinforced.
Here are 5 things to look for when searching for an apartment, town home, or condo!
The full post is under the infographic!
One of the first things to think of is you have some fur babies at home is do they accept pets? A lot of places accept cats, but are particular about dogs and what size or breed they are. I didn't want to make this a whole tip since it doesn't apply to everyone.
1. Location, location, location. If you have to commute to a job that is a huge deciding factor for location. For example, my partner and I are planning our move to Oregon. We are deciding whether we want to pay more money to be closer to Portland, or pay less and get more space if we live farther away. Does the cost for gas outweigh living closer and not having to commute as far.
2. How many bedrooms and bathrooms are you going to need? If you are living by yourself, a studio apartment would most likely be the best bet. If you are living with roommates the more bedrooms the better! Personally, my partner and I are looking for a 2 bedroom with 2 bathrooms. One master bedroom and a room to turn into an office.
3. Parking... At first glance parking seems insignificant. Trust me my friends, it is very important.
How much does parking cost per month? Obviously, free parking, first come first serve, is ideal but sometimes that's not an option. I didn't really think about anything before getting my first apartment and it was a nightmare. They purposely built a small parking lot so that people would pay higher prices since they said it was in "high demand". There also weren't any guest parking spots. People were being towed left and right because there was no where to park.
If you're okay with uncovered parking it is the best way to go in my opinion. Unless you have an expensive car it's honestly not necessary to have covered parking for the amount of money it costs.
The cost of a car port and/or a garage adds up every month. If you have more than new car a town home is the way to go. Most apartment complexes don't allow than 2 cars on a lease.
4. The office staff/management. If they are incompetent, rude, and careless it will make a difference. At my first apartment the staff claimed they saved documentation but when they need it they said they don't document anything. The staff were constantly leaving, they didn't care and they rigged everything.
The manager and office staff at my current apartment bake cookies, and are generally friendly. It makes a difference especially when they know your personal info and can take advantage of that in a malicious way.
5. Now, for the actual physical rental.
- Do you want a place that is recently renovated or are you okay with it being slightly out of date?
I thought it didn't matter, until we moved into a place that was a million years old and was falling apart. When you are cooking every day, taking a shower, and doing general every day things it makes it easier and more enjoyable when things aren't falling apart.
- The layout makes a difference too, especially when you have roommates. Some apartments have shared bathrooms with only a sliding door separating the toilets.
-Sound proofing... This means what floor do you want to be on. For my current apartment since housing is in high demand and there aren't any options we were stuck on the ground floor. The floors and ceilings are paper thin. I can hear the person above me peeing, coughing, and he stomps when he walks. Not enjoyable.
-Is it a community laundry room or in unit? (preferably the washer and dryer is already in the unit so you can do laundry on your own schedule). If you have lived in a dorm you know how crazy that can get. Community laundry is a pain. It's gross. Period. If you don't have a choice though it's doable.
-Baseboard vs. central air. Utilities can sky rocket based on what kind of heating and a/c you have.
Baseboards are more expensive, plus they are all under windows. The heat goes right out the window.
You can use a temperature gage to control it, but even then if you change it a lot it costs more money since it has to start and stop more often.
Central air is better if the control panel works. Some apartment complexes (like my first) would rig it so it looked like you could control it. But really I couldn't. It got up to 100 degrees in my apartment and stayed around that range all year round.
It circulates better and you are able to have heating and a/c.
All in all, if you feel comfortable that is the most important thing. It depends on your lifestyle, if you don't find hearing others as much then the ground floor works. If you love to listen to movies and music loud a townhouse might work the best. If you have a dog a personal backyard might be the most important.
What do you look for when finding somewhere to live? What is the most important to you?
Koofers Website Link, Quizlet Website Link, Zotero Website Link, Wunderlist Website Link, Groupme website link
Overall, Finding the right websites and apps that are actually helpful is really difficult. I promise as a college student these have been some of the best tools. Let me know what has been most helpful for you!
These tips are from real life experiences from when I was a freshman in college.
As a disclaimer I would like to say, when writing a blog post everyone says to be positive. For this post I have positives but I also am going to be telling you the truth instead of giving overly positive advice that won’t help you. Freshman year isn't glamorous and neither is college in general; it's how you navigate that makes the real difference.
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Grey Macey is a student who posts about lifestyle hacks mostly about college, music/entertainment, kittens, and photography!