First things first, if you are on the market for your first apartment, this most likely means your moving out of the dorms, so a congratulations is in order! Finally getting your own place with no RA’s around to snoop in on you is very exciting. However, it can be a little scary because along with freedom comes responsibility.
Do not fear! This is your guide on what you can expect out of your first apartment. One of the most important things you need to do before all else is talk with your parents or guardian about establishing a monthly budget for rent. What can you afford to pay each month? This is crucial because it will help you narrow down your choices when beginning to hunt for apartments. After establishing your monthly rent budget, talk to someone you trust about being a cosigner on your lease. This is important especially for college students because most of us can’t afford to pay our rent on our own and we need a little help.
Now that you've dealt with all the business aspects, here comes the fun part: finding your first apartment! Considering you’re a student you mostly likely want to be near campus. If you do not have a car you probably want to stick to the apartment complexes that are within walking distance to campus so you won’t need to waste money on transportation. After doing some research on the location you desire, it might be a good idea to call or email the landlords of the complexes you are interested in, and make appointments to meet with them. This way you can get a tour of the apartment you are wishing to rent, and ask any questions you may have about utilities, amenities, etc.
After seeing a few apartment units, you will fall in love with one and decide it’s the perfect fit for you! So once you commit to renting an apartment you will need to sign the lease. The landlord will also ask for copies of your driver's license, social security number and information from your cosigner. All landlords’ rules are different but commonly you will pay your first and last month's rent along with a security deposit. The security deposit is for the landlord to pay off any damages you may cause to the apartment while living there (it happens to the best of us). Nevertheless, if you cause no damages, you will get it back! Happy Hour anyone? Okay let's not get ahead of ourselves.
So after you have signed your lease and received your move-in date, it’s time to start planning on what you will need to bring. The most important thing to get out of the way is finding your furniture if your apartment comes unfurnished. It is smart to look around on the Internet for some deals or even check Craig’s list. This way you don’t end up wasting money on furniture you will probably be getting rid of in the next two years or trashing. After figuring out your furniture situation, it’s a good idea to focus on the little things--necessities such as dish soap, toilet paper, paper towel etc. Sometimes these things always seem to be readily available to us especially at home or in the dorms. Sadly, when you have your own place these things don’t just suddenly appear.
Now that you have some tips on what to expect when moving into your first apartment, get EXCITED! Have some friends over and break in your new place!