Saturday, May 31, 2014

Apartment Hunting: The 3 Basics Beforehand


The basics:

There's some basic things to get together before you start looking for an apartment. Here are 3 key ways to make yourself a great 

Credit

You should get a credit card, as long as you can manage your money. 

Folk will give you lots of conflicting advice about this. But if you are looking for an apartment, you are going to want at least 9 months of paying a credit card on time. 

Pay your credit card on time. Keep your charges low compared to your limit. 

References

Keep the contact information of your landlord. Name, address, period of living, email and phone. 

Future landlords will call previous landlords to make sure you pay your rent on time and don't cause problems. Give your landlord a heads up before giving out their contact information. They'll appreciate it and be able to be prepped with something nice to say about you.

Remember this when someone asks you to host a loud party on a Sunday night: will this party be worth losing a chance at your next fave apartment?

Keep contact information for your employment. If you are an undergraduate who has been employed since freshman year it really says something about your responsibility and commitment.

Find out if someone is willing to co sign with you. Usually parents take this sort of thing on, but anyone can. Basically, anyone who has a longer track record with credit or housing will do. It's a big thing to ask of someone so choose wisely!

For college students, I'd strongly suggest spending the last 9 months of your undergraduate life off campus, especially if you want to stay in the area. Having a reference can make a real difference and the gradient of your transition out of college's support network can be really helpful. 

Money

You're going to need at least two month's rent up front: for the deposit and for the first month rent. Don't expect a seamless transfer of your current deposit to your new place; have that amount on hand. 

If you're looking through a broker, you'll either need another half or another full month's rent. It's really expensive, I know. Depending on your area and moving time, broker's fee may be negotiable. For example, broker's fee for a Sept move in date is expected, so you may consider an August move in date without a fee since it will cost as much!

Also make sure you have money for the moving costs. That means the boxes, tape, renting a car/paying a mover.