As many people leave home, leave school, or just need a change of pace, it is apartment hunting season! It can be really expensive to live alone, not to mention, it’s fun to live with roommates! So, once you’ve decided who you’re going to live with, it’s time to start the hunt.
Before the Hunt
This phase of the apartment search is the most important. Now is the time to get all of your skeletons out of the closet (especially if you and your roommate have never lived together). Sit down with your potential roommate and discuss how each of you envision your new apartment. Jot down a list of needs from each of you – it can be as simple as “my own bedroom,” or need a parking space, or want to be within walking distance to public transit. Then it’s time to discuss some other important topics, including:
- What is your max budget? Does that include utilities?
- Are you willing to share bathrooms?
- Do you need a large kitchen space?
- Will you host parties? Guests?
- Do either of you have or want pets?
- Are you willing to get more roommates?
It is up to you both to look for place to live. Use the Internet as your friend! Websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Apartments.com, and Craigslist (be cautious with ads) will give you plenty of options. Depending on your town or university, you may also have access to other apartment websites or Facebook groups. When you’re searching, keep in mind all of the needs you and your roommate set, as well your own and your roommate’s budgets.
When you’ve found a good apartment, send a link to your roomie and then schedule a tour! It’s nice to figure out a few times/days where you are typically free, so planning an apartment tour is not a scheduling nightmare. When you go to tour, make sure to take pictures so you can go back through them together.
You’ve Found The One!
AMAZING- it’s time to call the landlord and get a lease drafted as soon as possible. Make sure both you and your roommate have your paperwork and credit/finances in order and have a co-signer ready if one is required. When you go in to sign your lease, make sure you both actually read it. Be aware of any policies of the building or terms of the lease that may affect you. After you’ve signed, celebrate with your new roommate on conquering the hunt!
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