Adulting 101: Finding the perfect post-graduation apartment

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The search for an apartment is almost as important as finding a job after graduation. As an independent adult you don’t want to be crashing with mom and dad for too long, so here are some tips for finding the perfect place.

1. Timeline

Depending on your location, you may need to start your apartment search earlier or later. In larger cities, openings aren’t posted until a month before a renter would move in. However, in college towns, you should start looking two to three months in advance to ensure you maximize your options.

2. Where to Look

There are many websites out there to help with the hunt for an apartment. Zillow is a great website to use because you can set your apartment preferences and get alerts when one that meets your criteria is posted. This is a great way to stay on top of your search without spending countless hours scrolling through online postings. If there is an apartment listing you like without pictures, you can request them from the landlord. Oftentimes when pictures aren’t posted, it is because the landlord isn’t as tech savvy, not because the apartment is in bad shape. Asking friends and coworkers about listings is helpful as well, and may lead to finding a great place that hasn’t been listed yet.

3. It’s too good to be true

When shopping for an apartment, look out for deals that seem too good to be true for the apartment’s location and size. Use common sense and refrain from using unsecured means of payment or revealing any sensitive banking information over the internet.

4. Neighbors

Another thing to consider when searching for that new apartment is the neighborhood you want to live. In living next door to families, you may be expected to keep the noise down and maintain a peaceful environment. However, if you want to live in an area with younger adults and college students, you may hear your neighbors later into the night. Drop by the apartment at night to check out the noise level, and, on a rainy day, to see if there is any leakage or flooding. If you don’t smoke, ask the landlord if there are any tenants that do because smoke can rise into the apartment above it.

5. Lease

Once you have found an apartment you like and are interested in taking the next step, make sure you read over the lease thoroughly. Pay special attention to the consequences of breaking the lease and what types of maintenance your landlord covers. Some landlords include renter’s insurance in your monthly rate, however, if they don’t, it’s a good idea to buy renter’s insurance to cover any break-ins, fires, or flooding.

When apartment hunting, don’t do it alone. Take a friend to help you make good choices and point out things you may miss. Happy hunting!

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