Adulting 101: Lessons in Apartment Hunting
What it do, family?
As many of you know from following me on Instagram and watching my stories, one of my biggest achievements of 2019 was moving out of my mom’s house. And we Bless Him (love you, Mom).
Although it has been a great feeling to attain and customize my own space, it has not come without it’s own set of challenges. From long wait times to move in, to issues after I got here, the past few months on my own have been full of ups and downs. Everything has worked itself out (for now…insert knocks on wood), but there are plenty of things I would have done differently if I could go back. Because of this, I’m bringing you the following advice for your own apartment search, especially if it’s your first time.
#1: Make a list of your negotiable vs. non-negotiable desires before apartment hunting.
Doing this ahead of time, rather than winging it like I did, will allow you to go into the process with a concrete game plan. I knew what kind of things I liked and what area I was interested in, but not making an actual wish list allowed me to be easily enamored on my apartment tour. Walk into yours with a definitive list of things you can’t live without vs. those you can take or leave. This will help you to be more pragmatic in your decision making and less likely to fall victim to viewing properties with rose-colored glasses. I also suggest including a specific price range that works for your budget and sticking to it. Getting a proactive idea of how your monthly bills may shift after moving can save you some headaches down the road.
#2: Tour more than one place, EVEN if you love the first thing you see.
I did not do this, and I regretted it later. At the time of my search, I felt overwhelmed by the number of complexes that were out there and advice that I was being given by others, so I sort of just went with the first place I liked, which happened to be the first place I saw. In hindsight, I should have made a list of 3-5 complexes to tour, then made a final decision. Although I mostly enjoy my apartment community and it’s location, I have wondered if I would have been able to score a comparable place with a cheaper price tag (and better office staff), if I had looked around more before committing. So, take heed and plan ahead. Don’t play yourself.
#3: Cap off the number of communities you want to visit, so you’re not overwhelmed.
See above. Choose 3-5, or however many works for you.
#4: Pay attention on tours.
Complexes are very skilled at making spaces look bigger and more functional than they really are. More to come on this below.
#5: Note the placement of things like laundry rooms and utility closets.
You won’t notice it while touring model units, due to the property’s styling efforts, but you will later find that these areas can compromise bedroom and/or living space when placed oddly.
#6: Ask what size the beds are in model units.
If the model unit has a Full sized bed, but yours is a Queen or King-sized, take that into account before applying. Take it from me, receiving keys and then having to reconfigure the plan for how you want things set up is not fun. I currently have my bedroom on one side of the apartment and travel to use the nicer bathroom across the hall because the bedroom attached to it is cut down in space by a utility closet tucked in the hall. Hence, the advice in numbers four and five…
#7: Determine whether the complex allows smoking in units, and speak up if you have a preference.
Even if you don’t have asthma or respiratory issues, you may not want to be in a unit previously held by smokers. The odor will stay long after they leave. Consider this and make your preferences known before you sign a lease.
#8: Ask about the prevalence of pests, especially if the complex is in a wooded or moist area.
Avoid running into unexpected critters by asking or looking this up ahead of time. While you may not necessarily be afraid of bugs, lizards, and the like, no one wants to wake up to unexpected guests trying to shack up and multiply. Not today, Satan.
#9: Make sure you have money saved for moving costs & furniture.
I stress this for everyone, but especially if it’s your first place. Things add up quickly before you ever see a key to your new home, even when you do save ahead. Deposits, insurance, utility start-up fees, and other moving expenses are expensive. So unless you’re in a dangerous or emergency situation, don’t be caught trying to make it work without the funds needed to transition with ease.
#10: Be smart and be patient – take the time to find the best place for your needs and your pockets.
Pray and pace yourself. Wakanda wasn’t built in a day. Taking the time to carefully weigh your options before making a move will save you from struggling later. You should move into your place ready to reap the benefits; not to struggle.
I hope this advice comes in handy for your next move. May you be armed with the lessons born from my mistakes, and may the odds be ever in your favor. Happy Hunting!
P.s. If you get a spot with a real (wood-burning) fireplace, make sure you open the flue before lighting your first log. The results of skipping this step are not pretty…*face palm*
Prepare and Prosper. #StayKultured.