Are you a recent college grad who is ready to rent their first apartment? Dorm life was an easy option that didn’t require much planning. But now that you’re out of school and on your own, it’s up to you to find a safe and suitable place to live. Before you start your search, take a look at some dos and don’ts of renting your first apartment.
Do Decide What You Want and Need First
Wants and needs are two separate categories. While you might want a spacious three-bedroom with every amenity possible, you may only need a basic one-bedroom unit. If you can’t afford every want right now, focus on the needs. These are the essentials that you require to live safely and comfortably.
Streamline your apartment search and create a list that includes both categories — wants and needs. Start with the needs. These are non-negotiables and should include the minimum number of rooms or square footage, storage space, security features, and location. If your first post-grad job is a work-from-home arrangement (or a hybrid cyber/in-person position), you may need an extra bedroom or spare room to use an office space.
Move on to your wants after you list your needs. The wants vary by person and personal preference. Limit the wants to realistic amenities or points on your list. Realistic wants could include a shared rooftop deck or community swimming pool. Unrealistic wants for a recent college grad who is starting an entry-level position may include a private pool, a full-home smart system, luxurious finishes and fixtures (such as marble flooring, soaker tubs, or walk-in steam showers), or penthouse suite style rentals.
Even though you may not have the ability to pay for the highest level of finishes or fixtures, some luxury-style buildings offer some amenities that a recent grad can afford. Stainless steel appliances, glass backsplashes, and newly designed/installed kitchen cabinets and countertops aren’t necessarily out of your reach. You may find these types of upgrades in newer, reasonably priced rentals.
Don’t Go Over Your Budget
Now that you know what you need and what you want, it’s time to calculate how much you can spend on your first apartment. Your budget shouldn’t only include the monthly rental fee. Along with your rent, add in other expenses that you may need to pay for.
Utilities, Internet service, parking/transportation, and maintenance or upkeep are additional expenses that could impact your budget. To get a full picture of how much you can realistically spend, also add in the cost of food, entertainment, and (if applicable) your student loans.
Even though your first apartment budget may not get you your dream rental, you don’t want to go into debt just to accommodate a lavish lifestyle. As you move up the career ladder, you’ll have more money to spend on your next apartment.
Do Factor In Security Deposits and Other Move-In Fees
Some rental companies and landlords require tenants to pay a security deposit and provide first or first/last months’ rent when they sign a lease. Think about how much money you’ve saved and whether you can comfortably cover these added costs upfront. If a larger lump sum isn’t something you’re willing to part with right now, consider a less expensive or smaller rental.
Don’t Forget About the Community
Unlike solo single-family homes, apartment buildings are communities. Think of your first apartment as an upscale version of your dorm. The people who live near you are part of the building’s community and could become your new set of best friends. If you’re new to town or just want to form new friendships, look for a building that offers plenty of community amenities and shared spaces.
Do you want to learn more about apartment living in Kansas City? Contact Crossroads Westside Apartments for more information.