How to Choose an Apartment After Graduating

#Moving Help

Getting your first place can be equal parts fun and harrowing. The freedom that an apartment provides is often wonderful, but striking out on your own can be challenging. Whether you’re graduating soon from a local university like the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities or simply moving to your own apartment after living with family, Acorn Mini Storage has some tips on making such an important move.

Getting Your First Place

Before you select your first apartment, you’ll need to prepare for the application process. Apartments commonly require some or all of the following items:

  • Personal identification
  • Proof of income
  • Rental history
  • Credit history
  • Physical or digital application
  • References

Getting your first place as a recent college graduate can be tricky if you don’t have any (or much) rental history, proof of income, or credit history. There are two main options if this is the case. First, ask a family member or a friend to co-sign your lease if they are willing. A cosigner is just as responsible for the lease as you are, so it is of course important to meet your rent obligations. Second, many first-time renters have better luck renting through an individual rather than a company or an apartment complex.

How to Choose an Apartment

Choosing an apartment or rental home out of the seemingly infinite amount of options that can be found online can seem overwhelming. But when looking for your first apartment, most of your decisions can be boiled down to four main factors. These factors are interrelated and a change in one can affect others, so be aware of how each choice affects the others.

1. Budget

Many financial institutions recommend that your housing costs should account for no more than 30% of your take-home income. Another way of thinking of your costs is the 50/30/20 rule, which states that you shouldn’t spend more than 50% of your take-home income on things that you need—things like housing, car, and student loan payments.

2. Roommate

Should you get a roommate? If you’re single, getting a roommate (or multiple roommates) can help you afford a much nicer place than you might be able to afford otherwise. Unfortunately, unless you know who your roommate will be, you’ll have to roll the dice on compatibility. Be as thorough as possible when vetting a roommate.

3. Location

The location of your apartment affects its price and what kind of places are available. Do you want one close to your place of work? Are you more interested in the nightlife or vibe?

4. Amenities

If you’re working from home, you may want high-speed internet availability, and if you hate public laundry you’ll want a place with in-unit washers and dryers. These are just two choices for a nearly endless list of amenities.

Make Use of Self Storage for More Space

One thing you’ll need to consider when choosing and renting your first apartment is storage space. Apartments can vary in size, but in general more bedrooms mean more space. Unfortunately, that also means much higher expenses. For instance, the average one-bedroom apartment rent in St. Paul is about $1,200 per month, and the average two-bedroom apartment rent is about $1,500 per month. That’s a $300 per month difference.

Fortunately, your friends at Acorn Mini Storage can help. Unlike apartments, self storage units don’t require long-term contracts to rent at the best price. And for much less than $300 per month, you can expand your storage capability at 16 storage facilities throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Contact us today to find the storage space that can help your first apartment experience be a great one.

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