Many college graduates and young adults opted to move back in with mom and dad during the pandemic. But now that the world has opened back up, you may be considering finally moving out of your childhood bedroom and into your own space.

But how can you make sure you find the right apartment? Here are some checklist items to think about before signing that lease.

  1. Budget – before starting the search, look over your finances and credit score. Rule of thumb is to spend no more than 30 percent of your gross income on rent. The 50/30/20 rule is a great budgeting technique to follow; 50 percent of your budget should go towards rent and bills, 30 percent of your budget is for wants, like shopping and eating out, and 20 percent is for savings.
  2. Amenities – Consider your lifestyle. Do you need a pet-friendly apartment for your dog? Do you love to exercise and need to be near some hiking trails? Is an in-unit washer and dryer more important to you than being close to work? Understanding what you want versus what you need will be very beneficial in narrowing down your search. 
  3. Apartment Building Location – Are you the type who needs peace and quiet after coming home from work? Or would the sounds of city night-life excite you in the evening? Consider how far you would want to be from grocery stores, gyms, and even family and friends. 
  4. Apartment Unit Location – Property managers may show you a model unit to help you envision what you can do with the space when you move in, but it’s more helpful to see the specific unit you will be moving into. Are you living right above a noisy bar? Next to an elevator? How many stairs would you have to walk up? If considerate neighbors are a must, it’s probably best to avoid a unit next to a high-traffic common area. 
  5. Lease – Your Property Manager will thank you if you actually take the time to read over your lease. Paying attention to what’s written in your lease will save you possible headaches in the future. Talk up front about what happens if you need to break your lease early, and what kind of fees you could be looking at if you do so.

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