Recent college grads and millennials will soon face a tough task if they haven’t yet already – the apartment hunting process. No matter how many times you’ve gone through it, this process can be intimidating and stressful. What are some things to consider when apartment hunting as a young professional?
Renting Vs. Buying
This is a constant debate that many millennials face. The housing market is better now than it was ten years ago, and there are strong temptations and pressure to buy a home. If this will be your first residence post-grad, it’s strongly recommended that you rent. Take time to work, settle into a career, and build capital before investing in a home. The buying v. renting debate comes down to how financially stable you are. You should not stretch your budget thin trying to stay afloat, and renting provides more flexibility to avoid do so. Additionally, there are fees associated with homeownership, such as homeowner’s association dues and unexpected repairs. These either don’t exist or are covered by your property manager when renting. If buying, you’ll need to have enough money saved to cover these unexpected costs. Renting at this stage in your life can be much less stressful.
Setting A Budget
Apartment hunting can be easy because you can find a unit that perfectly fits your budget. The important caveat to this, however, is that you truly understand your budget. Before apartment hunting, break down what living expenses you can afford for the year. You should be able to afford your apartment while still living comfortably. Also keep in mind that when selecting a new apartment, you may have to pay more upfront. Your property manager may ask you to pay the first and last month’s rent, in addition to a security deposit.
If you’re apartment hunting for the first time, you’ll realize that there is a lot of paperwork to keep track of. You may need to prove your credit score in the form of credit card statements or loan application history. These documents should be stored in a safe, yet easily accessible, place. Additionally, you should keep track of the apartments you look at. Have a document or worksheet that tracks the following
Rental Rates and Security Deposit
Location (What’s around, proximity to your place of employment, etc.)
Other relevant information and pros/cons
This will reduce a lot of the stress associated with apartment hunting. If you are ready to rent, it’s better to start the process sooner rather than later. Start planning today for your apartment of tomorrow!