Your First Apartment Checklist

Your first apartment checklist can prepare you for the ups and downs of renting your first place. Having a checklist can help you rationally evaluate an apartment and see if it really meets your needs. When you get your first apartment, there are things that you may not be aware of that you need to look out for.

Money: When you look for apartments for rent, you should start with your budget. Don't ruin your expectations by viewing apartments that are out of your budget. Calculate how much you can afford per month. Don't forget to factor in expenses besides the rent, like electricity, phone, Internet access and cable.

Location: The next item on your first apartment checklist is the area where you want to live. Depending on your budget, this may not always be possible. If you live in a large city, you may not be able to live where you want to without a roommate, or several. Look over some listings in the newspaper, or search online to get a feel for what different areas in your city cost.

Making the Most of Your Search: After you've considered your budget, decided on the area you want to live in and figured out if you need roommates, it's time to start the apartment search. You can simplify the process by searching online at one of the popular apartment search Web sites. Keep in mind that most apartment complexes have to pay to be listed on these sites. You may be missing out on many of the privately owned apartments and small complexes that are in your area.

Look at the newspaper listings, in addition to online, to get a good survey of the apartments that are available. You may be able to find great deals on independently owned apartments. Don't discount the newspaper as a good source for listings, even in this day and age of Internet search popularity.

Amenities: As you're looking, you should take note of the security deposit, the amenities and the proximity to public transportation and shopping. Some of this information may be available online or you may need to call the apartment rental office. You should also check out the crime data statistics for the area.

The First Visit: The next task on your first apartment checklist is to make appointments to see your potential apartment in person. Make a list from the online and newspaper sources and then call to make appointments. You should never see an apartment sight unseen.

When you visit, take the description of the apartment with you, and make sure the place is what it says it is. Ask to see the laundry facilities, the garage (if any) and any other areas of the apartment you will use regularly. Take note of the complex's security, and ask the landlord how quickly he makes repairs. If you know someone in the building or can strike up a conversation without the landlord around, even better because they might tell you more about the complex than the landlord will.

If you follow this apartment rental checklist, you'll be able to find the apartment you want for the right price, in the right area.

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