15 Checklist Items For Your First Apartment Search

15 Checklist Items For Your First Apartment Search

Only the most important factors you must consider.

Moving into your first apartment is one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences of young adult life. Here is everything you need to consider in your search for your first apartment. I recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet, or at least a list, of the following items, and filling it in as you look at potential apartments.

1. Commute.

How far are you looking to live away from your job and/or school? Always factor in commute times, first and foremost. Google Maps is your friend. Also take into account traffic to determine just how long your daily commute would be.

2. Rent.

Monthly rent is the second thing to consider, despite popular belief. It doesn't matter if you've found a $700 monthly rent if it's an hour and a half away from work.

3. Utilities.

Every apartment you view online should list what is included in the rent. Try to find as many utilities included in the rent as possible, because that is fewer bills you have to worry about. Look out for electricity, heat and air conditioning, hot water, cable, Internet, and trash removal.

4. Floor plan.

Are you looking for a studio apartment (typically the cheapest option because there is no differentiation between rooms) or a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, or even more than that if you're going to have roommates?

5. Square footage.

How big is the apartment? Be prepared to pay more per month as the square footage increases. In other words, don't pay $1,000 a month for a 500 square foot apartment.

6. Laundry.

Does the apartment have washer and dryer hookups? If so, that means you have to bring your own washer and dryer. So unless you have two available machines or the money to purchase new ones laying around, you want to look for apartments that have the washer and dryer in-unit, or available for use in a community laundry room.

If the apartment complex does have a community laundry room, take note whether you have to pay to use it, or whether it is at no additional cost (included in rent). Otherwise, look at local laundromats.

7. Furniture.

Is the apartment furnished? If not, you'll have to bring your own, which is definitely a pain. Which appliances does the apartment have?

8. Application fee.

Most apartment complexes require you to apply to live there, and that will be one application per person. So if you and one other person want to live in an apartment, you will both have to fill out your own application, and each pay the application fee.

9. Security deposit.

Again, most apartments require that you pay the security deposit in full before you move in. This payment will either be returned to you at the end of your lease, if you do no damage to the apartment - or, if you trash the place, or punch a hole in a wall or something, your landlord will keep as much of your security deposit as it takes to return the apartment to the condition it was in when you first moved in. This is typically an upfront cost of a few hundred dollars.

10. Lease term.

Does the apartment offer different lease terms; for example, six months or one year? How long of a lease are you looking for? Keep in mind that you will be charged a lot of money if you break your lease, AKA move out before your lease is up. This is one of the terms you are agreeing to when you sign your lease agreement.

11. Renter's insurance.

Some apartments will require you to get renter's insurance and submit a copy of the policy you purchased in order to move in. Renter's insurance covers the cost of your belongings that you move into the apartment, in the event that you are robbed or a fire or natural disaster occurs and destroys all your stuff.

My boyfriend and I pay only $20 a month for renter's insurance through Progressive, but the monthly rate increases depending on the collective value of everything you own (we don't have a lot of nice stuff).

12. Pets.

Don't expect to be able to take your furry friends into any apartment you like, because a lot of places don't allow them.

13. Floors.

What floor is the apartment you are looking at on? Would you prefer a first floor or second floor apartment? You probably don't want to move into (and out of) a third floor, unfurnished apartment with no elevator - just saying.

14. Parking.

Is there a designated parking spot for each apartment? You will most likely have to inform the apartment of how many cars you have, and what their make and models are. Some may restrict parking spaces to one per apartment. Who knows, there may even be a parking garage.

15. Amenities.

You may wonder why an apartment's rent may be so high. Take a look: it might have a balcony, a walk-in closet, a pool, a full gym, or in walking distance to the beach. Look at the apartment's website to determine its full amenities.

Every apartment is different, but the basic needs stay the same. Use this list of most important factors, and add some of your own values that may not be listed here, to discover which apartment is best for you. Best of luck apartment hunting!

Cover Image Credit: Getty Images

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 A.M. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest,

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old doom room is now filled with two freshman trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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8 Things You Must Do Before Graduating From High School

You must do these before high school graduation!

Graduation can come up faster than expected. Soon, adult life will be around the corner. However, there are a few more things that you need to do before graduating from high school.

1. Enjoy prom

Maybe you got a special promposal and are excited about prom. But even if you don't have a date, go with your friends. It honestly doesn't matter who you're with as long as you have a good time. Dance and sing until your feet hurt and you've lost your voice. You can have a great time dancing and take photos. You'll remember this night, so why not enjoy it?

2. Take a road trip with friends

Chances are in a few months, your friends will be miles away from you. You'll appreciate spending some quality time with friends before heading off in separate directions.

3. Go to all kinds of sporting events

Most students in high school only go to the sport they're involved in or football games. However, there are so many other sports at your high school. Take some friends and go cheer for your team. Events are fun if you make them fun.

4. Attend a music production

Your school probably has a band, orchestra, choir, or a school play. Many people never go to a concert throughout their high school days. These groups put in a lot of hard work, and you'll find something you enjoy.

5. Take lots of photos

Senior year will be hectic, but it will also be one of the best times of your life. Take as many photos as you can to have those memories. Maybe even create a photo album.

6. Dress up

Take a day to dress up. It'll make you feel good about yourself, and will help you think positively through the amount of stress senior year brings.

7. Skip a day

OK, OK, OK. Normally, I would not encourage skipping class, but sometimes it's necessary. At my high school, we had senior skip day. I caught up on sleep studied for AP tests. It really can help relieve stress and give you a much-needed breather.

8. Be proud of what you've accomplished

Graduating from high school is a long journey, with struggles along the way. Be proud of what you've done and look towards the future.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels.com

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