7 Apartment Shopping Tips for Recent College Grads

Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment. For many, that’s just the first step in their journey towards building independence in their adult life. Another huge step in this adventure is finding a place to live.

So, if you’re a recent college grad looking for your first apartment, here are some essential tips to keep in mind. They can help you avoid common mistakes that could cost you big time.

Tip 1: Know Your Budget Before You Start Looking.

What can you realistically afford to pay in monthly rent after covering your other bills? Remember, rent is just one of your living expenses. You may also need to pay for things like utilities, water, Internet, and other living costs. And that doesn’t even factor in other monthly expenses like food, cellphone bills, car payments, and more.

So, take the time to put together a clear budget. This can give you a realistic lower and upper range of rent that you can afford. And that can help you narrow your search so you only consider options that fit your budget.

Tip 2: Know Your Credit Score.

Landlords will usually run your credit when reviewing your application. They do this to evaluate your history of making payments on time. It’s a quick way to see how responsible (or not) you are with managing and covering your bills.

So, if you don’t know your credit score, be sure to check it before you start looking at and applying for apartments. Again, this can help you refine your search so you’re only looking at places that you’ll qualify for. It may also help you know whether you need to save a bigger down payment (for places that may require this if you’re credit score is on the lower side).

Tip 3: Get Some Documents Ready Before You Apply.

When you apply to rent an apartment, you usually have to provide some supporting documents with your application. If you have these readily available, you’ll be able to submit your application with minimal hassle. So, get these documents ready to facilitate the process:

  • Recent paystubs
  • Bank statements
  • A copy of your Driver’s License or ID
  • Letters of reference for you and/or your pets.

Tip 4: Be Prepared to Pay a Deposit.

Many landlords require some type of deposit in order to rent a unit. This can be first and last month’s rent, a pet deposit, or some other type of deposit. Regardless, the point is that you should be ready to pay at least a couple hundred dollars for an apartment deposit.

Tip 5: Read the Lease Before You Sign It.

This is essential. Your lease is a legally binding contract, so make sure you know what you are agreeing to before you sign it. If you don’t, you could be giving up key renter’s rights, and that could mean big headaches and costs down the line.

Tip 6: Consider Getting Renter’s Insurance.

Like car insurance, renter’s insurance can offer some peace of mind that your personal property is protected if anything like a break-in, a fire, or a serious weather event destroys the apartment and everything in it. Renter’s insurance is usually really affordable, and it can offer invaluable peace of mind.

Tip 7: Don’t Assume You Have to Look Alone.

Finding your first apartment can be overwhelming, especially if you’re looking for or starting a new job—or you’ve just moved to a new area and you’re still trying to navigate the city.

The good news is that, in Houston and throughout Texas, you don’t have to search alone! The experts at Apartment GURUS offer FREE help to apartment hunters, sending the best listings perfectly matched to their search criteria directly to their inbox.

That can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle while ensuring you get everything you’re looking for in your first apartment!

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