Apartment Hunting: Part One

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Looking for an apartment can be an overwhelming experience if you’re doing it for the first time.  Here’s how to start and the pitfalls to watch out for!

Location

You open the classified and see an apartment for an amazing price.  The only problem?  The area of town is not the greatest, and it’s a high crime area.  I’ve had friends make this mistake and they had break-ins and items stolen.  Plus, they had to sacrifice peace of mind.  As a young adult, our schedules are conducive to late nights out–right when crime levels reach their peak.  If you absolutely cannot swing an apartment in a safe area, check out this website to find out where your neighborhood ranks in the area: http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/

With gas prices as high as they are, another factor to consider is how far away all your basic stops are: your job, grocery stores, your best buds.  A good rule of thumb is to get those three things within a 25-mile radius if possible.  The last thing you need on an intern’s salary is to be driving all the way across town daily!

 

Utilities

Utilities will cost much more than you think. You’ll have to ask exactly what it includes. Be sure to ask about: heat, water, cable, electricity, internet, sewage, trash, gas, security, maintenance, telephone, and then ask if there is anything else (so you don’t get trapped in hidden fees).

As a rule of thumb, “all utilities included” means water, gas, and/or electric (but double check with your landlords). Usually, it doesn’t mean cable, telephone, and internet are included, but sometimes the apartment complex will add them. Just be sure to ask.

If you can make it happen, sharing Internet is something I have done in apartments I’ve rented in the past.  One person has a router, gives the other tenants the password and then we all use that wireless and share the bill.  This can be risky for whoever has the router, but if everyone can give a good amount up-front, the benefits far outweigh the risk.

-WonderBread

I’m reading Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies

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