What to Look For When Apartment Hunting


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What to Look For When Apartment Hunting

Figuring out what apartment you want to spend the next year of your life in is a tough decision. There are numerous things to take into consideration.

The two main things that any apartment hunter looks for, no matter the city, are the cost of rent and location., which is perfectly understandable. While these are going to be the main factors when deciding if you want to sign the lease or not, there are other aspects of what you’re looking for when apartment hunting that should factor into your apartment search.

Are any utilities included?
Some apartment units may have utilities such as gas, water, and electricity included in the rent cost - that’s important to your out of pocket costs. However, you may be forced to pay for all utilities on your own. When you’re apartment hunting, this is a must ask.

Preferably, you’d like to have a washer and dryer in your individual unit. However, that’s not always the case. If it’s not, doing your laundry will cost you both time and money. If there isn’t in-unit laundry, the next best option would be to have units in the apartment building or complex. Otherwise, you’ll have to make consistent trips to a laundromat. This is an important factor to consider when apartment hunting.

Public Transportation & Parking
For big city dwellers, when factoring in location it’s important to factor in the convenience of transportation. If you do have a car, you’ll want to figure out the parking situation. Sometimes, the apartment will charge a monthly fee to park in their lot, or you’ll have to pay for a city sticker. This can be expensive and yet another addition to your monthly costs. Whether you have a car or not, if you live in one of America’s cities that features a lot of public transit, it’s going to be important to be near a bus stop and/or train station in order to make it easy to get to work or other important places.

What percentage of income should be spent on rent?
Rent is usually going to be your biggest monthly expense. Therefore, how much of your take home money should be going towards your monthly rent costs?

A general rule is that no more than 30% of your gross monthly income should go towards rent. For example, that means if you take home $4,000 per month, you shouldn’t spend more than $1,200 on rent costs. However, this is certainly flexible. 

Whether someone can get by with the following rule or not depends on their personal situations. These may include aspects such as car payments or lack thereof, student loan payments, and whether or not you spend money on parking and/or gas.

Just another aspect of what to look for when apartment hunting.

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