Hello! With the end of my lease approaching, I have been hunting for a new abode. Having nearly completed my first year of living independently, I thought I might share some of my newly gained (though still limited) knowledge. I’m no stranger to moving around. By my count, I’ve moved approximately seventeen or eighteen times in my life. I moved away from home, into a dorm, and then into my apartment.
- The first thing to consider is what you’ll be doing with your space. Will you be cooking? If so, you may desire a fully equipped kitchen. Will you be using a communal laundry room or would you prefer to have your own machines? With many apartments, there are laundry rooms meant for the residents. However, if you prefer your own machines, you might have to insist on washer/dryer hook-ups. Also consider whether you want carpet or hardwood flooring.
- You will have neighbors. Try and be observant of the residents in the area as you tour the various complexes. It can be difficult, but try to notice the thickness of the walls and the proximity of the units. Take into consideration the age group that is predominant in the area. You may not want to live near people that are going out late and honking car horns at all hours, unless you too plan to do so.
- Keep in mind that you will be required to move the entirety of your belongings into this new space. If your apartment is an upstairs apartment, you (and your moving crew) will have to carry everything up those stairs. That means a couch or futon, a dining table, a coffee table, a bed. You get the picture. It CAN be worth it, but if you’re not up for it, try and get a ground-level apartment.
I probably don’t have to say this, but don’t try to live beyond your means. The cost of living varies based on location. Larger cities and areas near popular nodes can stand to raise their rent. Know what you’re willing to pay for. Personally, I wouldn’t like paying an outrageous amount of money for a complex that has a tennis court, a golf course, and a mini bar. I simple wouldn’t partake in those luxuries, but I would still be paying them, ya feel? If your rent is inescapably high, make sure you have a contingency plan. Work hard, save money, and make good choices. It’s quite possible that getting away from the popular areas will lower the rent prices.
There is no shame in having your parents’ help, but don’t take that for granted. Not everyone is granted that luxury. If you can afford to help out, offer to pay some bills or a portion of the rent.
If you don’t have pets, you can pretty much skip this part. Since getting Casanova (the light of my life), I’ve started taking note of things I never had before. I now require clean, grassy areas where I can walk my boy without worrying about him. Try to consider the best things for your pet. You are their voice.
What’s important to you? Being close to campus or being close to WalMart? Would you prefer to live walking distance from campus? Is it important that you pass a Starbucks on your way to class? Do you need to be near a shopping mall or a library? Location is everything and can inspire greatness.
In the end, be critical of the things that matter to you. Assuming that no one enjoys moving, pick the place you can see yourself being happy at for a few years.