A Year in the Making: My First Apartment Story

my first apartmentI’m sure that anyone who has ever gone on an apartment tour knows the feeling.

You walk in to an empty room with the building manager and your best friend, and that’s it.  

You’re in love.  

You just know that your plant would fit on the windowsill perfectly, that your poster collection would look fantastic on the walls in the bedroom that you’ve already decided is your own.  

After the showing ends, you take the paper application, and spend the whole trip home debating the ins and outs of the apartment with your future roommate, sure that this place is The One.  As soon as you get home, you promise, you’ll apply.

But you don’t.  

You get home.  Open your laptop.  Settle back in to life on in your parent’s house.  You can hear their arguments already: Why would you pay rent, when you can stay here for free?  Why would you want to move so far from home?  Have you thought about the cost of utilities?  

And even though you know the answer to all these questions, you let them in to your head, and suddenly you’re not so sure anymore.  You wait, turn your plans into daydreams for next week, next month.  Later, you’ll make another appointment to see another apartment, even though you are still  half in love with the last one, and the one before that.

I’ve been through the cycle 6 times since graduating from college, and I’m done.  After a year of employment (and the advice of My First Apartment!) I’m financially ready to take the leap.  More importantly, I’m finally mentally prepared to move out, to take one more step towards independence.  I no longer am willing to let my mother’s fears stop me from taking a risk.  I’m looking forward to the adventure and I’d like to share my lessons with you.

After months of drooling over beautiful apartments, I’ve finally signed a lease.  My roommate and I spent about a month and a half scouring websites such as Zillow and Craigslist.  One apartment that we went to see I completely loved- the layout was beautiful, with exposed brick and white walls, the location was perfect, and the rent was exactly in my budget.

My roommate wasn’t as sure.  On the drive home after seeing it, we debated, and ultimately decided to apply.  I called, only to find out that the other couple that saw it with us had signed the lease fifteen minutes ago.

I wasn’t ready to give up yet, though.  I asked the building owner if he had any other units opening up soon in that building, and he said yes, that they would have one open the following month, and that if we wanted it he wouldn’t bother putting up advertisements. 

The situation seemed too good to be true.  I called the owner at least 5 times in the two weeks following that initial viewing.  If he told me to call him next week, I was on the phone at 8:30 Monday.  If he said to call later in the week, then in 48 hours I was on the line, reminding him that I wanted that apartment.  To be honest, I kind of annoyed myself, but he didn’t forget about us.  The apartment is ours, and we’re moving in next week. 

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned out of all of this is that if you want something, don’t wait for it.  There is never going to be a perfect time to move out, and good apartments will go fast.  We got in to a great apartment because we were persistent in seeking out what we wanted, and then not taking one let down as a final answer. 

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Author My First Apartment
Melissa W

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After graduating from college Melissa spent a year working at a non-profit while living at home. This fall she is returning to school to pursue a master's degree, while still attempting to work full time. In order to pursue these goals simultaneously she's moving closer to work in an effort to cut down on the 3-4 hours spent crying through Chicago's rush hour each day.

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