Finding Your First Apartment 101

Finding your first apartment is an exciting time — no matter the stage in your life. Whether you’re moving out on your own, moving in with roommates or downsizing your empty nest, it’s important to know the ins and outs of the apartment hunt. Before you venture out on your big search, make sure you have all the information you need to make the right choice.

Budget Wisely

There’s no way around it — a new apartment can be pricey. Security deposit, first-month’s rent, moving expenses, cleaning supplies, utilities — they all add up.  Before you decide to move, it’s best to save about three months’ worth of rent — that way, you’ll always be ready in case of an emergency.

Begin the Search

Now comes the fun part — actually picking out the apartment you’d like to call home. Compile a list of all the features you want, in order of importance: in-unit washer and dryer, pet-friendly, hardwood floors, etc. Remember, it might be difficult to cross EVERY want off your list, depending on location and budget — that’s why it’s best to prioritize. Then, choose which neighborhood you want to live in, factoring in price, work commute, family-friendliness, walkability, etc. Now you’re all set to start researching apartments in that neighborhood, and touring those that feel like a fit.

Know the Rules

Before you sign any papers, it’s important to make sure you understand the lease or rental agreement. Read through it in its entirety — fine print and all. If any of the lease’s requirements do not fit your lifestyle — pets, noise regulations, decorating limits — keep looking. You’ll find the right one eventually.

Protect Yourself

Getting a renters insurance policy before you move into your new apartment is a smart move. Not only will it protect the contents of your apartment, it can also help pay for expenses you might incur should your apartment become inhabitable. It’s a cheap way to protect your apartment and the dreams it contains.

Happy searching! With the right plan in place, you’ll find a place to call home in no time.



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