8 Things To Consider When You're Looking For An Apartment For The First Time
Apartment, sweet apartment. You're at a point in your life where you're starting to look for a place to call your own. After all those years of living in a dorm room and sleeping in a twin-size bed, you're more than ready to move out. You've been dreaming about decorating that cozy loft in the city, or being right by the beach at all times. You're even excited that there's a trip to IKEA in your future. But, there are some things to consider when you're looking for an apartment for the first time. This is where the #adulting comes in.
Wouldn't it be cool if apartment hunting was like an episode of House Hunters? A realtor would bring you to three cute and trendy places around town, and you'd have to tell her your likes and dislikes. This one apartment had great closet space, but very few windows. Option number two allowed dogs, but was located so far away from your work. Let's be honest: The studio is the way to go, and you're already picturing where you'd put your succulents.
In reality, it's not always like what you see on television. You'll likely tour a lot of apartments and lofts before you sign any contract and call that place home. Throughout the process, you'll discover what you need out of your living situation, and figure out your priorities. Taking these eight things into consideration will be key when you're looking for an apartment the first time around.
1. The Location
Location is the primary thing you need to consider when you're looking for your first apartment. First thing's first: Where do you want to live? Maybe you're thinking about moving to the West Coast, or finding a cozy bungalow near the beach. Your work may take you to certain places, and you're thinking about living abroad. (A studio somewhere in Florence? Sign me up.)
Once you figure that part out, then you can start looking at the some other details: the neighborhood, the nearest grocery store, and recreational things you can do in the area. It may seem tedious, but location is key to making sure you're comfortable in your new home.
2. The Layout
The layout of your apartment is actually more important than you may believe. You want to make sure your space makes sense, and will fit all of your belongings, too. Some complexes have a communal space for laundry, but others will have room for a washer and dryer right in your unit. Maybe your place will have two floors, with a fun spiral staircase or have a pretty open floor plan. You need to know (and see) these things for yourself!
Before you commit to anything, be sure to take a tour. Check out the closets and room for storage, and the counter space in the kitchen. When in doubt, go with your gut and know where you're willing to compromise.
3. The Cost Of Rent
Rent is just part of the real world, and you have to consider your bank account before dropping any deposits. You'll want to find some easy ways to save money where you can, and don't forget the water bill! Are we #adulting, yet?
You'd love to live in that super trendy loft in the heart of Los Angeles. But, the price tag may be through the roof. Maybe you'll gather up your girls and get the place together, or decide on something equally as cute and comfortable that's also downtown. Truth is, your first apartment may not be a dream, but it'll be yours — and that's the best part.
4. Your Roommates
Paying rent and having your own apartment sometimes requires some roommates. You may find a studio and decide to live alone, or have the funds for your own place just outside of the city. Whatever your situation may be, it's important to take other people into consideration.
Maybe you have a few besties who would love to live in the spare room. You spent four years or so at college living with roommates. So, you're used to having them around, and talking about your days over dinner. Your significant other may move in with you, and become your Food Network buddy on Friday nights. Sometimes just having this company makes a place feel more like home.
5. Your Pets
Unfortunately, not every apartment allows pets. So, take that into consideration when you're apartment hunting, especially if you may want to recruit some furry roommates.
Talk to the landlord about your options. Sometimes you can have small animals, and of course, there's a lot to know before getting your first pet, too. Maybe you have a furry friend who's going to make the move with you. In that case, you really need to find a place that will be comfortable for two. You may need an apartment that is dog-friendly, or spacious enough for your cat to roam freely during the day.
6. Your Work Situation
You'll be spending most of your time at the office. But, after a particularly busy day, it would be nice to have an easy commute to your couch. When you're looking for your first apartment, you'll want to take transportation into consideration, and look into parking rates for your car. Is there a subway station nearby? Could you walk or bike on a sunny Monday morning? Let's be honest: Sitting in tons of traffic or driving for an hour isn't ideal.
If you work from home, you'll want to make sure your space can accommodate that. Maybe you want an apartment where you can set up an office space or turn the second bedroom into a studio. Think about it, OK?
7. Your Future Landlord
Before snagging your first apartment, make sure that you meet your future landlord or possibly the building owner. This person is essentially like your boss, but for your apartment. You'll work with them when your kitchen sink has a leak or when the air conditioning quits in the middle of summer. Like any relationship or friendship, getting along and being able to solve problems is essential.
You want to make sure that this person has your best interests in mind, and cares about your space, too. Ask them questions about their experience, and maybe talk to other tenants who have been in the building for a bit.
8. The Other Amenities
Having your own apartment is a dream come true. But, be sure to consider the amenities that come with it before signing any contract. Sometimes, you can find an apartment that's has everything you're looking for, and a pool. Some places have central air conditioning, and others have a 24-hour concierge service, just in case you need anything in the middle of the night. Yes, you heard that right!
At the end of the day, these sort of things make your living situation even better and could save you some money. After all, if you're using the gym on the basement floor of your building, you don't need a membership at that place downtown. Get the picture?