Apartment Hunting

It’s that time of year again.  My kids are heading back to school.  Kylie is already settled in her apartment outside Boston.  Brian just landed an apartment in Brooklyn and Jay will be heading to camp/school on Wednesday.  By the end of this week, it will just be Ron and I, but before that happens we’re getting everyone ready to go.

Kylie is an expert, in 3 years, she’s moved at least 5 times, including a 5 month stay in Brazil.  She lives in a college town, so change is constant.  How does she keep up with all the changing needs?  She plans ahead. She and her roommates found their present apartment back in February. The first rule of locating the right college apartment:

  • Start searching early, January and February are not too soon. But if you have left it to the last minute, well, like I said, Brian just got an apartment this week.   Check the bulletin boards at school, contact student housing, they may know of options,  watch for “For Rent” signs in the neighborhood you’ve chosen, look online or in the local newspapers.  If you are pressed for time, use an agent, but in a college town, it’s probably not necessary and you can save yourself the cost, Network.
  • Know what you want and can afford.  Put together a budget that includes rent and all utilities, don’t forget transportation costs, and you will need to eat.  You may need to pay a month’s rent and a month’s security in addition to your first months rent.  Work this out with roommates beforehand. Then you can decide if you need a washer/dryer, air conditioning, cable, furnished, unfurnished etc.
  • Make sure you are close enough to school, work  and/or public transportation.  If you need a car, be sure you can park it.
  • Inspect the apartment.  Make sure everything works.  Look for leaks or water damage. Check  the plumbing and make sure the sinks and toilets are clean.  Check to see that all appliances work.
  • Make sure the neighborhood is safe. Check the locks.
  • Read the lease carefully and ask for help if you need it.  Find out about repair policies and make sure you have it in writing.  Sign the papers, pay the bills and then, you can begin the fun of moving in!

Check out A Place of Your Own for tips on Independent Living or, Ask the Moms

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