A few helpful tips on getting your own apartment after college
So, you’re graduating. First off, congratulations! No seriously, graduating college is an amazing feat and not anything to be taken lightly. Those who are lucky enough to attend college, and lucky enough to appreciate it for the opportunity it is, deserve a ton of credit for gaining a degree. Now that we’ve gotten that over with, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD!
Just kidding, college is real enough, but finding a place to live as a post-grad can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you don’t have the resources of student housing or a network of peers to rely on. But, no need to freak out, Eleanor Apartments is here to provide you, not only with a wonderful place to live for recent college graduates but a few helpful tricks and tips for getting your own apartment after college.
1 Budget Appropriately
The number one rule, and the first thing you should consider when getting an apartment after college is budget. Budget, budget, budget. It cannot be overstated. Your monthly budget for rent determines everything about what kind of apartment you’ll have: where it’ll be, how big it’ll be, how nice it’ll be, and how you’ll feel about it.
There is a general rule of thumb that says you should never pay over 30% of your net income on housing. While this rule is extremely useful to help get you started thinking about your monthly expenses, in many cities it is considered largely outdated, especially if you’re considering apartments for recent college graduates. Cost of living continues to rise across the country, and depending on your income, you may have to bend this rule a bit to find a suitable place. Nevertheless, 30 percent is a good place to start, a good number to keep in mind. And if you’re able to stay close to that percentage, you’ll be fine.
2. Choose your neighborhood
Ah, now we get to the fun part of Apartment hunting. Where do you want to live? If you’re a recent grad, you may be trying to stay within the same general area. For instance, if you’re a recent alumni of the University of Washington, you may be looking for Green Lake Apartments or Roosevelt Apartments.
Getting your first apartment near where you went to school can be quite helpful at this point in your life. But, you may want to get out of the area in which you went to school, which is great! It just requires a fresh start, which is probably what already after. In either case, there are a few things you have to consider when choosing the neighborhood you want to live in.
- The price- How much can you afford? It all comes back to budget after all, and different neighborhoods are priced differently, which may mean you need to expand the scope of your ideal neighborhood map.
- The commute- how long is going to take you to get to and from your place of work? A long commute can add unwanted stress to both your home and work life.
- The people- who do you want to live near? Do you want to live around families in a suburban locale? Or would you prefer living near young folks in the city? We can’t choose our neighbors of course, but neighbors do make a neighborhood, so it’s worth considering to live near those who share a similar lifestyle.
Don’t worry too much. You may have to make a few difficult decisions depending on your budget and other aspects of your life, but just remember that nothing is set in stone. If you look hard enough you may find a place in a neighborhood you love, but in the meantime, our most important advice for choosing a neighborhood in which to live is to be open-minded about living in a place that’s not your ideal, but that you’ll grow to cherish anyway.
3. Refine your search methods
Of course, getting an apartment after college requires that you actually find one. Site’s like Padmapper, Craigslist, and Trulia are great places to start. These will give you a general sense of what places are going for in certain areas. This is of course extremely helpful when choosing a home and a neighborhood. But remember that online listings can be very fickle, only because they are seen by so many people and provide no guarantee that you’ll even get to see the place before it’s gone. While online listings are helpful as a resource, try to not to solely rely on them as a means of getting an apartment; you can spend hours at the computer without a reliable lead.
Believe it or not, some of the best methods are hitting the pavement and good old-fashioned word of mouth. If you want to live in a particular area, go walk around the neighborhood, look for listings and talk to the people who live there, perhaps they know of an apartment opening up. Try and talk to people who live in or near a building you like, perhaps they can give you their property manager’s number, or the number of someone who can. Direct contact with a property manager is your best bet for landing the apartment you’re after.
4. Do your homework
You’re used to homework by now, right? Well, we’ve got an assignment for you and it’s called finding an apartment after college. Seriously, looking for an apartment is work, and it can be tedious. Making sure you don’t land in a bad situation with your decision to rent is work just the same, but there are ways to avoid it.
In any case, however you feel about your new apartment situation, there are a few bases you’ve got to have covered:
- 1.Know about your credit score
Many apartment rentals will require a background and credit check to make sure you’re a reliable tenant. If you’re unsure about your credit score, there are plenty of places to get your score for free. If your credit is a little low, you may need a cosigner on your rental agreement.
- Request a tour or a walk-through
Don’t ever sign a rental agreement without first seeing the apartment. We recommend that you inspect carefully and ask the manager about any existing damages and document them with pictures.
- Talk to current tenants
It’s best to not sign a rental agreement until you’ve spoken with a few of your tenants or neighbors. It’s not as though you need to make friends but it’s helpful to get a sense of their experience.
- Read and re-read your rental agreement
You should know the ins and outs of your rental agreement with the property manager before you sign. Make sure you understand all of your responsibilities and if you’re unsure of any, it never hurts to ask and get everything in writing.
- Consider Renter’s Insurance
Renter’s insurance is a simple insurance plan you get to protect the possessions you keep within your rental unit, as your property manager is not responsible if something happens to them.
- Know Your Rights as a Renter
The three basic renter’s rights are your right to a habitable premise, your right to privacy, and your right to a safe premise.
5. Be ready!
This may be the most important bit of advice we can give on getting your own apartment after college. In most places, apartments can go very quickly. If you’re to learn anything from searching for apartments for rent online, it’s that. If you’re serious about getting a particular place, and you know it’s in high demand, then you’ve got to have your ducks in a row.
You should carry your checkbook and references with you when you meet the property manager, even if it’s for the first time. Make sure you have enough for the deposit, as well as first and last month’s rent, as most rental agreements will require this up front. The situation with your dream apartment may come up like a flash and you’ve got to be ready to act pounce, or else you might miss it. Such is the nature of getting your first apartment, or any home for that matter.
It’s true, finding your first apartment after college can be a daunting task. Sure, you may no longer have the resources you once had in school, but now you have Eleanor, the perfect apartments for recent college graduates. We’re here to offer our residents the very best of life in Seattle and we want you to find the apartment of your dreams. It can certainly be a lot of work getting your own apartment after college, but at Eleanor, we’ll take out the guess work and the difficulty in searching for a new place.
If you’re looking for Green Lake Apartments or Roosevelt Apartments then look no further than Eleanor.