As a 21-year-old veteran of three apartment complexes, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to make apartment living successful.
Although nothing underscores the feeling of youthful independence quite like moving into your first apartment, there can be a handful of unpleasant surprises that are best avoided. By following these tips, it should be possible to optimize your living experience.
Think Twice Before Agreeing to Move In With Strangers
When you’re anxious to get out of your parents’ house, moving in with complete strangers doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But think twice about the circumstances in which you’ll be living as well as the fine print at the bottom of that lease. Remember that if you sign a lease with someone, you can and will be held responsible for unpaid rent if your roommate can’t cough up the cash. Nothing is worse than putting a ding in your credit rating at an age when obtaining loans for school or a new car can be extremely important.
[ Related: Talk It Out: Dealing With Disagreeable Roommates ]
In some instances, a landlord may agree to hold each tenant individually liable. If you would like to avoid this extent of fiscal responsibility, a month-to-month agreement with tenants who are currently leasing may be the best option.
Consider Your Needs Versus Your Wants
It’s easy to get caught up in your newfound independence and start blowing your money on a bunch of non-essentials. I spent money on eating out, beer and even piano lessons, all of which added up to about $400 of extra expenses every month.
MSN Real Estate explains:
Before you embark on an apartment hunt, write down a list separating your needs from your wants. Needs are those things without which you just can’t live. For example, my husband and I own just one car, so for us, proximity to work or to public transportation is a need. Wants, however, are those things that would be nice to have, but you could live without for the right price. For example, you may want a gym or a first-floor unit, but they may not be deal breakers.
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When it comes to actually renting the apartment, needs such as the proximity to your place of employment, on-site laundry and a responsive maintenance team can be extremely important.