5 Things To Consider When Looking For A New Place To Live

Photo by Dougal Waters, Digital Vision

It’s that time of year again when landlords are knocking at your door, bugging you about renewing your lease so he or she doesn’t have to look for new renters in the fall.  If you’re tired of his or her bullsh*t, looking to upgrade, or just moving out of the dorms consider these tips on looking for a new place to call yours next year.

Location

With gas prices skyrocketing, location may be the number one priority when looking for a new house or apartment for the fall.  Not only do you want to save gas, but if you can get home without having to drive it also means you can drink as much as you want downtown and not worry about DUIs. Look for a pad either within walking distance or near a bus or subway station. Your wallet will thank you later when you’ve got extra cash to buy drinks for that girl who has been eye-humping you from across the bar.

Neighbors

Some of the worst horror stories from living in apartments come from having terrible neighbors.  One night they’re cooking something that smells inedible and the next they’re calling the cops on you for turning up the bass too loud. To avoid this situation scope out the neighborhood.  Stake out the building for thirty minutes if you have to.  If you see more than 2 kids under the age of 10 come out, bail. Similarly, if you see more than 2 people over the age of 50, forget it.  You don’t need to subject the people you bring over to their judgmental stares. Same rules apply when looking to rent a house, although, you have more leeway with a house because you don’t usually have to share a wall with people you don’t know.

Roommates

There are several reasons why you should find a roommate.  Unless you’ve tried to live with roommates several times previously and can’t stand being around other people, cohabiting is the best way to go.

  1. The more people you live with the easier it is to save on utility bills and rent, but make sure everyone has a stable enough income so that one of you isn’t covering all the time.  If at all possible, have everyone sign separate leases with the landlord as well to protect yourself in case someone tries to clear out.
  2. A good rule to follow is to never room with your best friend.  Spending so much time together will show you a side of them you didn’t know existed and strain the friendship.
  3. On the flip side, don’t pick the first Craigslist stranger that answers your ad.  Conduct an interview first and do as thorough a back-ground check as you can.  Take a copy of their ID and google them at the very least.
  4. The best thing to do is find a friend of a friend – you already having something in common but will put up with each other better because of the lack of closeness.  Worst case scenario you two endure a year of little talking and awkwardness, best case scenario you make a life-long friend who doesn’t mind waking up and letting you in because you are too smashed to find your key.

Amenities

It’s always useful to make a list of what you are expecting out of an apartment or house before you start looking. Here are some thing to consider:

  • Are the rooms big enough to put a beer-pong table in?
  • Or the rest of your less important furniture?
  • Are the walls thick enough that not everyone knows when you’re getting laid?
  • Are the windows big enough to let good lighting in? Or do they let in too many curious eyes from the street?
  • Will you have to wash your laundry at the laundromat or at home?
  • Can you cook if you want to?
  • How hot/cold do the seasons get and does the HVAC work well enough/at all?
  • Are any of the utilities included in the rent?
  • Are there enough outlets to plus in your Playstation, Xbox, Wii, HDTV, and speakers?
  • How much does cable/satellite cost in the area you’re in?
  • How easy will it be to clean?
  • Do you need one bathroom or two?
  • Do you have to do the lawn work?
  • Is there gas or is it all electric?
  • Are you allowed to put your favorite posters on the wall like that sweet rules of beer pong one?

And if you’re lucky you might be able to find a place with a pool or hot tub.  Find what really matters to you in a living space and make a short list of priorities.

Price

Although finding a price that you can afford is paramount, you also don’t want to look for the cheapest, rundown place in the city just to save.  You are most likely going to be living there for at least a year and coming back to a dismal home after a day of classes and work is not going to make you feel that good about life.  Find someplace towards the top of your price bracket so at least you have a sanctuary from all the things life throws at you.  Plus, dates aren’t going to be impressed with anything too dark, dirty, or depressing.  The key is to balance your needs with your finances.  If you can do that you’re going to have a good time come moving day.

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