First apartments are very exciting ventures but don’t let the excitement sweep you up and cause you to lose sight of the big picture. The first step to finding your first apartment is creating a list of your needs and your wants. Make sure to be practical and put only those things you need on the need this, then rank your wants and always keep this in mind when apartment shopping. With a list of priorities you’re less likely to be swayed by the pool and exercise room while forgetting important details like security and neighborhood.
The next step is obviously the budget. Look at your income and your expenses and try to figure out what you can afford. A rule of thumb is that your housing should be somewhere between 25 to 30% of your gross income. But if you can find a place that suits your needs and most of your wants for less you should definitely go that route. Most people looking for their first apartments have nominal savings and spending too much on housing is not going to help that situation.
Then you’ll want to look at the area in which you’re planning on living? Find crime statistics for the region, look at bus routes, proximity to work, school, grocery stores, parks and anything else that interests you. This is something that a lot of first time apartment hunters skip as they only review finances and amenities but safety and proximity to attractions is important.
Finally you’ll want to shop and see. Look at as many properties as you can and you may find your priority list shifting a little bit. See who is offering the best deals and as if they have any incentives attached as many landlords are trying to get tenants and will throw in some freebies.