Your Guide To Finding The Perfect Apartment: Step 2

First things first, if you missed step one, check out my article here to get caught up!

Now, onto step 2!

The timeline for this step is December/January!  

Once you have worked out Step 1 with your potential roommates, there is another set of things you should consider.  Here is a list of items you are going to need to look into when searching for your first apartment:

1.) Planning Finances

  • Monthly costs

        There are many things that can fall under monthly costs, such as rent, utilities (electricity, heat, hot water,          etc.), transportation (gas, parking, MBTA, etc.), cable/internet, and groceries.

  • One time costs

    There are also a lot of one time costs that go with apartments like first months rent (usually needed upfront), last month's rent (usually needed upfront), Security deposit (usually needed upfront––this is the fee that the landlord collects to cover any damages you might cause to the apartment, or if you leave the apartment having owed rent.  This fee will not exceed one month’s rent and is always due before you move into your new apartment. If there are no damages at the end of the lease, the landlord owes the entirety of the security deposit back to you with interest.), Realtor fee (if using a realtor––This fee is usually no more than one month’s rent, but you should always negotiate. Some realtors will come down a little bit on the fee so it's not as much for you to pay all at once.), furniture (for anything you can’t bring from home), installation fees (for cable and Wifi), and Moving expenses (if you need to hire movers)

2.) Financial Aid

The financial aid package that you are getting from your school may also get pulled into consideration when looking at moving off campus.  Because many schools will provide funding or grants to cover part of the housing costs for living on campus, moving off campus means that sometimes this portion of your financial aid is sacrificed.  While sometimes you’re not given a choice as to whether or not you have to move off campus, it is important to keep in mind that this portion of your financial aid will most likely be taken out of your financial aid offer.  For more information, I suggest contacting your financial aid office to see how this situation would affect your directly.

3.) Academic Schedule

You thought you hated those pesky 8 ams before?  Well let me just tell you, it's even worse when you have to commute in to campus.  Why? Because instead of just rolling out of bed at 7:30 am, you have to plan for transportation, and if you are relying on the T, you know you have to leave extra time in case of a delay.  Not to mention you are now going to have to fight rush hour traffic and everyone else who is commuting in at the exact same time as you. On the flip side, you might also have to commute home later at night, so it is important that you are staying safe and are aware of your surroundings.  My roommates and I have a buddy system, so if one of us has to stay late, one of our other roommates will stay late as well so no one has to walk alone. This is something we decided to do, which you may or may not want to consider. Either way, it is important to take into consideration that night classes exist and so do 8 ams, so just be conscious of how far away you are moving and how you are commuting to campus.  

4.) Standard Leases

While I will talk more about leases when the time comes, it is important to know a few basic things.  A lease is a legally binding contract between you and your landlord. They are typically for a duration of 12 months (a standard lease running from September 1st to August 31st for college students).  Many companies will use the standard lease, however, some properties’ leases might come with an addendum, which is an additional set of terms and expectations added to the lease by the property owner. Make sure you read the lease in its entirety, because it outlines everything you need to know about your relationship with your landlord and apartment.


Step 2 is in the books!  Tune in next week for step 3 to finding your future apartment!