After graduating college, I was nervous about the apartment searching process. It turned out to be much easier than I thought. Here are tips I put together from my experience. Enjoy!
Searching for That Perfect Place
- Research. Ask around at your place of employment if you’re new to the area. Look online at sites like Apartment Finder, Apartment Guide, Trulia, or Zillow, among others. Take the time to look at reviews. It’s tempting to find a place with the cheapest price and jump on it, but it’s better to be thorough and know what previous tenants have said about the apartment building/complex.
- Record. Start a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Drive. Insert columns for the apartment name, city/neighborhood, price, contact information, move-in date, the different utilities (water, electric, internet, etc) and other amenities (pool or fitness center). Place X’s where the utilities/amenities are included. I also like to include a notes section for any additional details about the apartment.
- Schedule. If you’re going in on an apartment with multiple people, it can be hard to find a time that fits for everyone. Find a day that can be cleared (most likely a weekend) and set up multiple appointments in one day. It can be tiring, but I found it to be the most efficient.
- Be thorough. When you go to the leasing office to hand in your application papers or to sign the lease, double check that you have all the necessary requirements before arriving. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the office only to realize you forgot something or didn’t follow directions.
- Get organized. Buy folders to keep track of all your utility bills and bank statements. I found a pack of sturdy and fun designed ones at T.J. Maxx.
- Sign up for automated payments. If you’re like me, you have monthly payments for auto and renters insurance, your car, college loans, rent, water, internet, Nation
al Grid, etc. It can be overwhelming trying to keep track of when each payment is due and making sure you have enough money in your account. Getting automated payments helps you stay on top your bills. Try signing up for text alerts as a reminder of when money will be pulled from your account.
- Move things gradually (if possible). I had a week span of when I got my new apartment and when I had to be out of my college house. Having the ability to move several boxes at a time made the move much less stressful.
- Find some muscles. Have bulky furniture? Hire guy friends to do the heavy lifting. Or you can find movers through a moving company such as U-Haul.
- Change your mailing address ahead of time.