Moving Out, Moving In… Where?

There are few things worse than trying to find a job in this economy. Finally landing a job is a HUGE relief… But what’s next? Well, if you’re moving to a new location, the stress and frustrations of life post-grad aren’t over just yet. While moving out on your own can be fun and adventurous, the act of actually hunting down that perfect apartment is somewhat torturous. Be warned… I’m currently in the phase of searching for apartment #2. And you might as well call me Nancy (as in Negative Nancy) in the meantime.

For real, though, it sucks. Rent is the biggest waste of money. It’s no secret that a lot more people are renting instead of buying now a days. So what do landlords do? Mark up the rent, of course! And what do the renters get out of it? Absolutely nothing.

Credit scores, income verification, applications, and more… Mom and Dad are no longer there to walk you through these steps. It’s okay, because we’re adults now, remember? Here are a few tips to make hunting for an apartment (hopefully) a little bit easier:

1. Know your budget. Searching online? Narrow it down by filling in the maximum price. There’s no point in looking at the glamorous, unaffordable apartments if you have no way of paying for it.

2. Know your credit score. Credit cards in college? Hopefully you’ve been paying the bills. Your credit score is a major part of getting approved for an apartment.

3. Explore the area. Brand new to a city or town? Take a drive around. Feel the need to lock your doors? Then I suggest that you keep on driving. This new place is going to be your home for a to-be-determined length of time. If your new job is in a new city, it’s worth the trip to check out the community. If you’re not comfortable in it, start making calls to find out living options in other nearby towns.

4. Clean out the basement. Start looking for furniture. Maybe a relative is thinking of trashing an old couch or table, and you haven’t even told them yet that you’re looking for an apartment. Your best bet is to let everyone know now before it’s too late to cash in on the free goods. Sure, the rent, utilities, and security deposit seem affordable, but are you planning on sleeping and eating on the floor?

5. Keep in mind that this is only temporary. Most post-grad students aren’t looking to move into their dream location right away. You need something fast and cheap — which may not be what you had pictured in the past. While you shouldn’t ignore #3 on this list (and compromise your safety), you should always remember that this arrangement is most likely, only temporary.

Once you’ve found an affordable, suitable apartment, you may or may not be too thrilled with it. I get that. But hopefully these tips will make your adjustment a little bit easier. No one said that life was going to be easy, right? If you’re feeling down on yourself, remember that it could always be worse:

“Your Worst Apartment” – photos courtesy of the New York Times

Any other tips for recent grads who are apartment searching? Share them with us below or @20sTweet!

~E

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