How to Navigate Renting Your First Place After College

So you’re done with college and living at home is, well, living at home. Restless and bored, you’re beyond ready to move out. Where do you go? Where do you even start looking? 

The process may seem overwhelming and confusing, so keep reading to find out how to navigate renting your first place after college.

Everything (and I mean everything) adds up

When moving out of your home, take into consideration the cost of moving out all your belongings from where you’re currently staying to your new place. Will you be renting a U-Haul, or transporting furniture yourself? Movers can be costly and typically calculate costs by weight of objects, distance and package supplies. According to Movers.com the standard price for moving furniture and material can cost between $1,600-$2,800.

After the cost of the actual move, you still have to furnish your place. A great sustainable alternative to purchasing expensive new furniture is to check thrift stores and antique shops. You may find a real gem with a story to tell that could be the next focal point of your new place, at a super discounted rate.

From cable, furniture, decor everything comes at a cost — make sure you’re mindful that moving out doesn’t mean you’ll be paying a flat rent fee. A fun way to decorate your new home is to create decorations yourself! Watching DIY videos and finding inspiration through Pinterest boards can lessen the hole in your wallet.

Finding a roommate

Now that you’ve graduated college you may be thinking that you’re done with roommates. However, living with a roommate in your first apartment is a smart option. For starters you’re splitting rent, amenities and utilities in half, plus, you may find comfort in not being completely alone in a new environment. Finding a roommate to live with in your new apartment is completely different than finding a roommate for your dorm room. 

Discussing whether or not you’re willing to compromise on location, size, price need to be talked about with any potential roommate to ensure they’re comfortable with what they’re walking into.

Location

Although city living may seem glamorous, it might not be what you’re looking for. Typically, apartments in large cities are smaller, more expensive and not worth the overall money you’re spending. Consider looking at locations outside of the city — surrounding boroughs will have larger apartments, more privacy and who knows, maybe your next favorite taco spot.
 

Amenities

Searching for an apartment includes the details you may overlook. You may want to ask yourself if splurging on a washer/dryer is that important to you? Do you need to purchase your own air conditioner or is there centralized AC? And most importantly, are pets allowed and/or is there an extra fee? Because, let’s be real if we’re leaving home, so are our pets. Amenities can shape you're entire experience on your first apartment. Learning your own personal "must-haves" versus things you can live without are all moments of self-reflection that you learn along the way. 

It’s time to sign the lease

You know how literally nobody reads the terms and conditions section? Yeah, this time you’re going to want to read every single word. A lease is your signed, written contract with your landlord (and your roommate if you have one) of expectations and rules set for the certain amount of time you’ll be living there. 

Three things you should always look out for when signing a lease are:

  • Is the rent the correct amount?
  • The day your rent is due and how payment is made
  • Utilities that are included

Last but not least, make sure everything is working properly. This may seem intuitive, but you want to make sure everything is properly functioning, that includes every outlet.

Although it may feel intimidating and daunting at first, moving into your very own apartment is an exciting accomplishment. With careful planning, attention to detail and a plan for the future, you’ll be right on your way to your home sweet home. Imagine how good it’ll feel once you can kick your feet up and enjoy as much chips and guac as you want.