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Let's Get you an Apartment!

First off, congratulations on looking to rent your first apartment! We are here to help you make this process as easy as possible. 

1. Do you want roommates? 

Do you like spending time alone? Or do you prefer living with one, or even several roommates? Do you live well with other people? These are all important questions to consider as you are looking for apartments, since you will need to figure out how many bedrooms you need in a rental. It is also important to consider how the price might be affected- usually 1 bedroom apartments are more expensive than if you were to have 2 or 3 other roommates.

2. Look for apartments that fit your budget

First, you need to find where you want to live! Go to the internet and start searching. Some websites to look for listings are, Zillow, Trulia,, craigslist, or even facebook groups. It is recommended that you spend no more than 25% of your monthly income after tax on rent. Check out our tab on “How to Budget” to figure out how much you can afford to spend on rent. Remember that you need to factor in other expenses such as utilities, food, loan payments, emergency funds, and some extra money for fun activities.

Piggy Bank

3. Submit a rental application

Once you find some apartments that you like, it's time to start working on your rental application. Each rental is different based on how much information they will want from you on your application. Here we will outline an in-depth example of things you might see in an application. Here are some things you may be asked for: 

  • Photo ID

  • Name 

  • Address 

  • Phone number

  • Email

  • Employment information and income

  • Previous addresses 

  • Any pets you may have that would live in the apartment

  • References of prior landlords or profession/personal references 

  • Credit score information 

  • Background check/criminal history 

  • Your preferred move-in date

4. Tour apartments

Once you submit your application and hear back from the landlord, you are ready for an apartment tour! This can either be done in person over a video call so that you can see the apartment virtually while asking the landlord questions. You can also schedule an in-person viewing to check out the surrounding neighborhood and walk through the apartment. As you are viewing the apartment, take note of things that might be worrisome if you were to rent the property. For example, lookout for any signs of mold, insect infestation, obvious damage to walls or ceilings, wear and tear in the carpet, etc. You will also want to open and close cabinets and doors to make sure they all function properly. You will also want to ask the landlord questions, such as when the rent is due, how much the security deposit it, how much the utilities come out to each month on average, the safety of the neighborhood, parking, who is in charge of fixing things in the apartment, etc. Ask as many questions as you can, because it is always better to know more before signing a lease!

5. Speak with current tenants 

If you are able to, it might be really helpful to speak with the current tenants of the apartment. Ask them how it was to live in the apartment, and if there is anything you should be aware of. Make sure to ask about the landlord, and how their experience was renting from them. You can also try to read reviews online if you are not able to get into contact with tenants.

6.Sign your lease!

 If you found an apartment you love and are ready to move in, congrats- you did it! Before you sign your lease, make sure that you read over every bullet point. Once you sign the lease, it is final. Review the lease and negotiate or further discuss with your landlord any of the information. You should also review your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, check out this link for more information on legal matters.


TENANT: The people who will occupy/live in the apartment

RENT: The amount of money you pay to the property owner every month

LEASE: A legally binding document for a mutually agreed on portion of time that allows you to live in someone else's property 

SECURITY DEPOSIT: Typically 1-2x monthly rent to ensure if you damage anything, the owner can fix it. Typically, you will get your security deposit back at the end of your lease

UTILITIES: These are services that the landlord may or may not cover. Make sure to ask who pays for water, heat (either gas or electric), wifi, trash disposal, and compost removal

7. Enjoy your new home! 

Good luck and if you have any questions let us know

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