Helpful House Hunting Guide

By LORI REYNOLDS
Staff Writer

With the new housing requirements setting into place next fall, many upperclassmen have found themselves scrambling to find their first-ever rental apartment.

A scary task, finding and moving into your place can be stressful and quite difficult, but if certain steps are taken, it can work out in the end. Instead of panicking, there is an option. Yes, this is an exciting milestone but can be daunting if you do not know where to start. Do not worry though, here are some guidelines to help you search for the right apartment:

1. Set your price range: There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a place and then screaming at the price tag or struggling to pay the rent.

2. Location: Decide on an ideal location, somewhere that is close to work or school or in an urban or suburban neighborhood. If you do this before you go apartment searching, it can narrow down your choices to a specific part of town and make the searching that much easier.

3. Amenities: Decided if you need a washer and dryer, parking spots, cable or other goodies to come with your apartment. For example, some apartments come with a washer and dryer included, but some are located within the building that you share with other tenants. While looking at different places, pay attention to these details and decide what you think fits you best.

4. Teamwork makes the dream work: Roommates were necessary when you lived on campus, however it does not have to end there. Finding a roommate that has the same interests as you and can work with you to find a new place could be a lot of help. Together, you can not only pay the rent, but you can also share other responsibilities as well.

5. Start the search: Once steps 1-4 are decided and narrowed down, you can start searching online or with a realtor on potential apartments.

6. Tour: A picture can be completely different than the actual place, so it is important that you actually go set your eyes on the new pad before you sign the contracts. Make sure you take a tour and even take pictures or a video, this will be helpful when you are narrowing down your final choices.

7. Application fees and deposits: When you are taking the tour and you feel like this place is the one, be prepared to pay an application fee and possibly make a deposit. Applications fees can range from $50 to $200, so make sure you have the money.

8. Read the lease: It is very common for people to zip right past the terms and conditions but when it comes to apartments, do not do it. It is vital that you read the lease but it is also important that you understand it. Because once you sign it, there’s no turning back.

If you follow these guidelines, your search for new housing could be a lot easier than expected. Of course, shopping for a rental apartment might be intimidating at first, but with these steps, you will be able to overcome the different fears. Good lucky and happy shopping.

Lori Reynolds

Lori Reynolds is an alumna who received a bachelor's degree in radio, television and Internet media. Originally from Bloomfield, CT, but considers Jamaica her home due to her heritage. When she is not busy planning her next travel location, she immerses herself heavily into the Lynn Knight Radio station, where she co-host radio shows.

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