1. What’s your budget looking like?
This is usually the most crucial piece of the pie when determining where you’re going to live next. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is whether or not their work check will be enough to cover the rent and utilities at the end of the month. Collective wisdom maintains that folks should always have at least 3-6 months of a nest egg in holding just in case anything happens which knocks them out of work for a bit; but, in that same breath, collective wisdom would tell you that this just isn’t the case for many millennial renters and recent college grads.
When attacking the rental market, many landlords and property managers are only looking to do business with people who make at least 40x the monthly rent. This number can be reached by you individually, or with the combined salaries of you and your roommates.
First, determine what you’re willing to pay. Second, figure out what you actually can pay after taking into account emergency situations, utilities, and living expenses. And, lastly, if all else fails, get one of your parents or a rich aunt to sign on as a guarantor.
2. Who do you want to move in with and where?
Living with crappy roommates suck. The energy you expense dealing with awkward situations, spilled juice on the carpet, hair strands all over the sink, and dirty q-tips on the floor, isn’t ideal. Take some time to determine who you want to live with.
We all know the sketchy reputation that several housing sites have (*cough cough* Craigslist). But, believe it or not, there are ways around this. In NYC and in cities all over the U.S. speed roommating events are becoming more popular. You can also use Facebook groups from your alma matter to post that you’re moving and looking for a roommate. There’s usually an established rapport between the group members due to the similarities in background here. The last option, and most ideal here, is to pick a friend or two that you’d like to make the major move with and begin searching.
Usually going into the rental search process, you’ve already identified the general area you’ll want to live in. Once you determine who you’re going to live with, you’ll be tasked with jointly narrowing down the precise location. Things to consider when making this choice: price (as noted above), commute time to work, public trans options, community, and the nightlife (or lack thereof, if you’re not into it).
3. How long do you plan on living there?
Are you planning to plant your roots in this new burgeoning city or in this secluded suburban town you’ve found yourself in? Do you have a partner and look to grow your relationship to the next level? Are you looking to hit the fast track to success in your new job or entrepreneurial endeavor?
These are all important factors in determining how long you want to stay in one location. If you know the stay is short and you can live with the basic essentials, this will play a heavy role in what you’re willing to put up with from your neighbors, your landlord, and the condition of the apartment you find yourself in.
Whatever you determine your mental clock to be, make sure your living situation matches accordingly. Take the time to really figure out what furniture you absolutely need, what cable/internet package is really necessary, and how long you can put up with your recluse neighbors.
4. What do others have to say about your home provider?
This question is the most important one you should be asking when you’ve determined what exactly you’re looking for in a new place. Remember, you always have leverage. Information rules all. When you get the opportunity to see a place or look for one, always start first by finding out what the current and recent tenants have to say about their living situation. Most times, they’ll keep it 100 with you. That’s what you want.
The website that gives you this kind of information, without making you hunt down every past tenant in the unit, is called WhoseYourLandlord.com (WYL). WYL is a website and IOS app enabling renters to rate their landlords and housing complexes and giving them the ability to find their next home. This kind of platform is uber important. Businesses guard their social reputations like their life depends on it….because it does. Utilize resources like whoseyourlandlord.com to inform others of the good, bad, and ugly you’re dealing with. And, by speaking up, you’ll see your home provider more rapidly and effectively fix the issues you have. They may even provide you more perks based off the praises you sing of them online.
Once you hear what people have to say, sit down with your soon-to-be roommates and make your final decision. Enjoy your new digs!