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See Ya Dorm, Hello Apartment: Tips on Real World Living

MyApartmentMap - Jul 12, 2011

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Moving from your college pad to your new real world digs can be a challenge. Utilities, furniture, non-college student neighbors? What does that even mean? We’ve compiled a few tips and ideas about what to do when moving from your college apartment to your first “adult” pad.

First, it’s important when searching for your first apartment to know how much you should be paying. We have compiled average rental data for each state in our Rental Data database for you to gauge how much you should be spending in the area you are moving to. If a deal looks too good to be true, it is possible that is the case. There are a number of reasons for a low price, from problems in the apartment to an unsafe location. So, while searching for an apartment keep an eye out for sketchy deals. Your best bet once you’ve found an apartment is to check out the landlords ratings, and see if it’s 1.) a legit place 2.) if you’ll have problems in the apartment 3.) if you’ll have problems with the landlord. Also, while searching for your first place after college make sure to see if there are any other fees for  the new place. Normal practice is to pay first months’ rent plus security deposit, and possibly last months’ rent as well.

Next, utilities are always hard to judge especially in cities that have dramatic change in temperature, like Boston. Will you be heating your apartment? Or will you be cooling your apartment? Or are you in an area that you will have to do both? How much will you spend on utilities? Wait- water isn’t free? The answer to all of these always depends. Some apartment complexes include all of the above in the rent price, plus utilities such as internet, trash removal, and parking, while other complexes do not include anything. So, how do you figure out how much money you will be spending on top of your rent? The best way to figure out extra costs is to ask the landlord what is included, and then to ask them if you could have a copy of the previous tenants bills (I would even go as far as asking for both winter and summer). Through past bills it will be possible to gauge how much extra money you will be spending on your new digs. Normally, you will spend between $100-150/ month on utilities, but again this depends on how many people are splitting the costs and what’s included. Don’t forget for some utilities there’s a one time startup fee.

One tip to help you figure out your money situation to be able to pay for both your apartment and utilities is to budget your money. If you are paid bi-monthly, the best approach is to use one pay check for your apartment, and your second check to pay for utilities and other expenses (college loans, car, cell phone etc.) or even save some of it. It’s crazy, but budget your money after all of your bills and see how much you have left for fun. This can be done simply in an excel sheet. Below is a list of items to budget, I’ve broken them down into Large, Medium, and Small Expenses:

Large

Rent, Car Payment, Student Loans

Medium

Utilities (Internet, Cable, Cell phone, Electricity, Heat, Gas), Credit Card

Small

Water, Gas, Public Transportation, Gym membership, Groceries, Savings account

Finally, remember when you move into your new place that your neighbors probably did not just graduate college. So be respectful of your surroundings and your neighbors. If you’re renting in an apartment complex, the walls are probably thin and sound will travel easily. Those late nights will have to be kept a little quieter then you are probably used to, and even more so during the week. Now that you’re not living in the dorms, the people that surround you are most likely working with families. With adult life, comes adult responsibilities. The transition into the real world is a fun change, good luck and enjoy!