Getting My First Apartment: Another Lesson in How to Be an Adult

By Jackie Thomas

how to be an adultIn three short weeks, I’ll be taking on what might be my favorite yet most challenging adventure of my twenty-three-year existence. This big decision follows one year and five months after college graduation (RU Rah Rah!), a year after my first car purchase (and two accidents) and four months after an (almost) lay-off (reorganizations are the worst). I’ve checked all those big deal, adult things off my list and in twenty-one days, moving out will officially join the list.

I’m excited, I’m terrified, my anxiety is through the roof and I can’t wait. That’s normal, right?

This all started around the beginning of the summer. The boyfriend, Patrick, and myself set a budget goal. Okay, fine, I set a budget goal for an appropriate amount we should have in savings then cross referenced it with our salaries to figure out an affordable rent price. Yes, there were multiple spreadsheets involved, but after all the math was done, we realized we can afford moving out and, more importantly, we were ready.

Originally, in my world of cotton candy clouds and dirt cheap townhouse prices, we were looking at renting townhouses. Begrudgingly, I gave up that dream quickly. Apps like Trulia, Apartments.com and Realtor really helped us get an idea for the market price ranges, what townhouse/apartment complexes were around and start narrowing down viable options.

Our goal (as I’m sure every apartment hunter) was to get the best apartment in our budget range. This is why I recommend making a list of your priorities. This also will help you see what your roommate’s priorities include. Mine looked something like this: $600-$700/each rent range, pet-friendly, close to 295 (for work). Yours can have whatever your current life priorities are, but try to think ahead a bit. Also, no judgement if “close to pizzeria” is on your priorities list.

Eventually, around August we decided to just take some tours of apartments because, as many apartment renters know, pictures are deceiving and only tell you so much. After a couple of weekends of hunting, we found our apartment.

Now, making this decision wasn’t easy. It’s a huge deal. I thought about it A LOT. Something important about me is that I love to run. As I was trying to make this decision, I grabbed Pat and we went for a run around the apartment complex neighborhood. Slightly creepy, but the best idea. Somewhere in between lacing up my Asics, meeting a shepherd pup named Rylie and turning our run into a walk and talk about the future, I fell in love.

We saw our future there and it solidified in my mind that we were going to do this. That night we went online, put in our application and boom, we were on track to move out!

We’re about to make this huge scary leap and all I know is that if I thought I was adulting before, I was very wrong. I have so much more to share about pre-move-in hacks, hidden rent fees and how to say no to your relatives unwanted furniture, so stick around and watch me try to adult.

Jackie Thomas graduated Rutgers in 2014 and currently works at an internship, turned big girl job (yes, that really happens!) at the Wall Street Journal. The Springsteen loving Jersey girl loves to run, write and find new DIY projects for her apartment! 

 

 

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Jackie Thomas graduated Rutgers in 2014 and currently works at an internship, turned big girl job (yes, that really happens!) at the Wall Street Journal. The Springsteen loving Jersey girl loves to run, write and find new DIY projects for her apartment!

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar John Donovan

    When deciding on the ideal apartment, it’s important to know what you want! For those who work in the city, having an apartment nearby can help eliminate a lot of hassle. Setting a budget and sticking with it is also a good tip.

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