Lessons in Life: How to Find That Right-for-You Pad

Updated on August 29, 2016

Life After High School: The Apartment

Once you have graduated high school, life hits hard. A lot of people don't have the option to stay living with their family for long after turning eighteen, and those that do maybe don't want to and would rather enjoy their freedoms! There are a few lessons I wish I had learned during this stage of life, so hopefully this helps you out some.

When you graduate and are looking for an apartment, consider a few different topics.

  1. How much do you own/do you need space for?
  2. How much is your monthly income AFTER taxes?
  3. Do you have any monthly bills already? (cell phone, insurance, etc)
  4. Where do you work and where are you looking to live?
  5. If you are considering moving with a friend, have you spent a long time with them (maybe staying at their house or them at yours)?

With these questions in mind, here are some things to think about.

Regarding the belongings you need space for: your first apartment is almost guaranteed to be overly small or overly large. Before even looking, take an assessment of your possessions. How big is your bedroom? Besides your bed, what do you need space for? Get a good ballpark of what you are going to be taking with you and where it is currently. Having that information will be handy when you do your first walk-through.

How much is your monthly income after taxes and do you have any monthly bills already? Essentially, have you made a budget to see what you can and cannot afford? I was never taught budgeting, besides a crash course from my father when I was hoping to get a car. Here is a quick little how-to from me to you if you aren't confident with a budget:

  • Start by in a line writing your monthly expenses and the dates they are due each month
  • Beside or below that, write out your next 6 months of paydays
  • An easy budget layout is writing the pay date followed by a + $_____, then below that writing down the name of the bills you have to pay on that date with a - $____ (remaining after). Below is an example from me.

Do this going forward and you'll see how much wiggle room you have in your budget for things such as rent, water/sewer/garbage bills (in case your apartment will charge for these), internet (in our time, this is a necessity for college), and costs like gas/bus/food/groceries/toiletries, etc.

Example Budget

Very basic (only two entries) but a good start for those who need a visual.
Very basic (only two entries) but a good start for those who need a visual. | Source

Where do you work and where are you looking to live? If, all forbidding, something happens to your source of transportation (car breaks down, can't afford bus between paydays, etc.) consider how you will get to work. If you live across town, and you have no backups, you now get to walk that distance to and from work. I've had to do it, it's not fun. Especially when you have to do so upwards of five times a week. Another factor being, where is the closest grocer? These are things to definitely think about.

Regarding roommates, I have found this statement to be all too true: "You don't know someone until you live with them." You may have been best friends since first grade, but you don't know that person's actual life style and habits. Think honestly about what it would be like to live with them before jumping in. You need to consider how things like money, cleanliness, upkeep of the living space, and lifestyle (drinking, smoking, other friends, up late or in bed early) will affect your friendship. I highly suggest sitting down with them, making a house budget, and setting very clear house rules. You don't want a friendship turning sour from being roomies. I have had it happen and I have seen it happen to others.

You've Found a Possibility!

So you know what your budget is, you know where in town you want to live, you have a steady job and you have a plan of attack. Now it's just finding that perfect fit.

What you want to look for isn't something that just looks good. Call around and look at classifieds. Craigslist, local papers, and more have great postings for apartments/small houses/duplexes for rent. Here are some things to keep in mind.

If the rent is the only cost listed, when you call to set up a viewing ask these questions before hand:

  1. (If you have pets) What is the pet deposit policy? Is there pet rent?
  2. What is the security deposit and what is the down payment needed? Often times this is 1 1/2 times the value of the rent. You'll want to make sure you have that saved up. If you don't and have to move immediately, there are some community resources to assist you, and possibly you can work with the landlord to do payments over the first month to cover that.
  3. Know that you (and the people you live with) may need to prove that you make three times the rent value in order to get approved. This is so they know if someone loses a job, they can still get rent.
  4. Ask what utilities are covered and what need to be paid by tenant.
  5. Ask about the lease agreement. Is it required for a year? Half a year? Or is there no lease?
  6. Is there a fee for applications, and is that fee refundable or applicable to the down payment?

Once you have those answers and are satisfied with them, set up a viewing appointment.

When you get in to see the new abode, have with you the application fee, or maybe a check to write out if you like it. You want to look around at the neighborhood, see if you are really comfortable with it. Ask questions like: what is the biggest maintenance issue this unit has had? Is there anything that needs to be looked at that maybe hasn't been looked at for a while (plumbing is a big one with this!)? Was there any previous damage done that you should know about? (Possible holes in the walls, etc., where it may be a bit weaker).

Look at how the heating is done as well. If you are paying for utilities and it has oil heat, ASK IF THEY COVER THE FIRST FILL AND MORE OR NOT! Oil heat is extremely expensive, and you do not want to run out mid-winter. We didn't know about the costs of oil heat and got into an older house before. It cost nearly $1200 for one fill that didn't even last the winter. It was horrible. Please for your health and safety, look into the heating.

If the home doesn't look in bad repair, and you have had all of your questions answered without hesitation, go on and sign those papers!

I am sure that a few different odds and ends have escaped me, but I will be sure to update if I think of more as far as these steps. And please look forward to my next article of life advice! Comments are appreciated. Thank you!

Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)