Tips on Getting Financial Help for Your First Apartment

Are you a recent college graduate who is looking for their first apartment? Have you decided it’s about time you stopped living with your parents and set up on your own? Perhaps you’ve suddenly found yourself in need of a new apartment and are wondering how you’re going to pay for it. Whatever the reason, financing an apartment can be very expensive, and unless you’ve got plenty of savings in the bank, you’re going to need to think about financing this adventure. You’ll need to find money for the monthly rent, utilities, application fees and a security deposit. On top of that, you’re also going to need to decorate and at least buy a couch and a bed! If you’re in need of financial assistance, there are several options to choose from.

First Step is to Make a Budget

Before you even start looking, you should decide on a budget for your apartment. Ideally, the rent you’re going to be paying should be no more than one-third of your monthly net income. For some of the more expensive cities, this may well be difficult to do. So instead, you’ll need to look further out where there are more affordable options. You’ll also need to take into account a number of other regular expenses. For example:

  • Utility bills: Electric, heating, andgas
  • Building fees: You may be required to contribute to the cost of water, maintenance, and trash
  • Internet and cable
  • Parking
  • Storage
  • Pet fees

There are also one-off fees you’ll be expected to pay such as a processing or credit check fee and a security deposit. In addition to these, your landlord may ask you to pay one or two month’s rent in advance. Renters insurance is another cost that has to be added to your budget.

Think of Ways You Can Lower Your Utility Bills

When you first move into an apartment, it can be difficult to know what you should be paying for different utilities. The fact is that many of us are paying more than we need to. Not just for utilities, but for other services too. Some providers will allow you to negotiate prices over the telephone and it might surprise you how much you can actually save. However, a certain amount of patience will be required, and you could be left on hold for a rather long time. Another option is to look for an apartment with all the utilities included in the rent. Doing so will make budgeting easier because you’ll be paying a fixed payment every month.

The financial burden of your first apartment can be eased by finding a roommate. In fact, your payments will be halved. A one-bedroom apartment could cost you $1,000 per month, whereas a two-bedroom apartment will cost $1,500, but this bill will be shared. If you know someone you don’t mind sharing your home with then go ahead and ask them. If you’re stuck for ideas, it is possible to find roommates online. Don’t forget to ask for references and be prepared for the landlord to do a credit check on both of you. It’s also important for you both to sign the lease, so there is joint responsibility for the apartment.

Think About Getting a Co-Signer

This is not an option for everyone, but if you’ve got parents or other family members who will be willing to co-sign a lease, it might mean you’re able to qualify for a more expensive apartment. However, there will be an element of risk for them, because they will be liable for the rent if you fail to pay. You should only consider this option if you’re certain you’ll be able to pay the rent but won’t actually qualify for your own apartment.

Start by Renting Month-to-Month or with a Short Term Lease

This can be a very attractive proposition for many landlords as it means they won’t have to worry about evicting you if they don’t like you as a tenant! All they have to do is refuse to renew your lease. You have to be confident that you’ll not be causing any problems for the landlord, and after a certain period of time, they may be willing to negotiate a long-term contract.

Should You Borrow Money for Your First Apartment?

Finding the money for your first apartment can be tricky, especially if you’re fresh out of college. There is an option that doesn’t involve asking parents, friends or family and can get you out of a bind if you’ve got no savings. A loan from a bank or finance company is an option, but it will cost you extra because interest will be added to the loan. If you’re interested in this option, you can read more here.

Tips on Making Your Rent More Affordable

If you’ve made a budget and the amount you’ve got available to cover the rent is not as much as you thought, there are some things you can do to save money.

  • Reconsider the location: Living in a city center is going to be more expensive than the suburbs.
  • Reconsider where you want to live: Does it have to be a whole house or a two-bedroom apartment? A basement apartment or studio is likely to be cheaper.
  • Are there any expenses you can cut?: For example, do you truly need a premium cable channel? Is an unlimited download internet package really necessary? Is it vital you eat out every lunchtime at the local sandwich bar? Could you walk to work rather than drive your car?

Moving into an apartment of your own is a really big step with lots of responsibilities. Yes, there are going to be some pitfalls. However, there are also going to be some great opportunities and plenty of memories along the way. Remember this is your first apartment, and you’d be mad to expect everything to fall into place and for it to be perfect. Many more apartments are going to come and go before you find the right one.