4 Simple Steps to Finding the Right Apartment
Welcome back to My Pad! You’ve made the exciting decision to rent a place off campus. Now let’s get a good handle on the important factors that go into finding the perfect place. As with many projects, finding the right apartment is all about taking good measurements: Your budget, your lease, even your room mate choices. They all need to be sized up properly, and even slight miscalculations can cost you dearly so make the effort to look at each factor carefully. your first task is to create a realistic budget to help decide how much you can comfortably afford to put toward living expenses each month. In addition to rent, be sure to factor in other costs such as utilities, cable, and internet. A good guideline to follow is that your basic monthly housing costs ideally should not exceed 1/3 of your monthly income. You may not be alone in your quest for the perfect pad. The right room mates can not only enhance your social life but also increase your monthly budget. That said, the wrong room mates can keep you up all night practising their trumpet or get you evicted if something goes awry. Your campus is one place to start hunting for a room mate using their bulletin boards and online resources. Here are some questions to consider before selecting your house mates on “My Pad!” 1: what kind of schedule do they keep? Will they be getting home late from school or work and making a ruckus while you’re trying to get some shut-eye? 2: are your cleanliness standards compatible? Opposites may attract, but even obsessive neat freak A and total slob B are good pals, things might get ugly when they are living under the same roof. 3: how do your eating habits compare? Will you want to share cooking duties and groceries? Will their apatites for pot roasts offend your vegan values? 4: above all, is your prospective room mate someone you trust? It’s a simple question, and any answer other than “yes” may be grounds to keep looking. Okay now it’s time to move on to the nitty gritty of apartment hunting. Identify your basic criteria: size, number of bedrooms, proximity to campus, conveniences, and call to schedule some showings or walk throughs. Take detailed notes on what you see, especially you’re looking at a lot of places, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Eventually you’ll find it. The pad of your dreams. You’ll be smitten and maybe even a little impatient to seal the deal. Stay focused. This is where the lease comes in. A typical lease will include lots of details many of which should already be familiar by the time you sit down to sign on the line. Read it carefully. Here are the main elements to look for: the cost of rent, usually charged monthly, the term of the lease in months or years, security deposits, pet deposits or other conditional costs, information on utilities such as water, heat and gas, and who is responsible for those expenses. Details about maintenance tasks such as snow removal or lawn care that may fall to tenants. Prohibited items or activities such as pets, water beds, smoking, subletting, etc. Rules about repainting and decorating. Contact info for whenever repairs are needed or emergencies arise. Ultimately, designing the perfect place on “My Pad!” is all about taking good steps and making good measurements to ensure that you don’t get left out in the cold when picking a room mate and signing a lease.