buying your first home - what you should know

Factors To Consider When Choosing Your First Apartment After School

Graduating from school and moving into your first apartment is a major step, and you undoubtedly want to find the perfect apartment. Here are some factors to consider as you look at apartments, so you can decide which is the perfect one. 

Location That's Close to Work

If you've secured employment, you'll likely spend a significant amount of time at work. Finding an apartment that's in close proximity to where you work will both be convenient and save you money. You'll spend less time commuting, which takes up a surprising amount of the work day. You also won't have to pay as much in gas or public transit fees.

Just how close your apartment can be to where you work depends a lot on your job. There may or may not be quality apartments near your workplace, and your salary might or might not cover the cost of rent near your workplace.

Ideally, you can find an apartment that's no more than a short drive from work. If you have to rent farther away, look for an apartment that's near a major thoroughfare or public transit stop. That'll help keep your commute shorter, even if the actual distance is a little farther.

Amenities That Save Money

Many amenities are nice to have in an apartment. Prioritize those that actually save you money, though. For example, many apartments have the following money-saving amenities:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi, so you don't have to pay for internet
  • On-site workout center, so you don't have to pay for a gym membership
  • Free parking, so you don't have to pay for street parking or a private lot
  • Smart thermostats, so you save money on heating and cooling costs

You may also want to prioritize a car-charging station if you drive an electric car to save on gas.

Together, these amenities could save you a significant amount each month.

Rent That's Within Your Budget

Don't overstretch your budget paying for rent. A long-established guideline is to limit your rent to 30 percent of your income. Thus, your rent could be $1,350 per month if you earn $4,500 monthly before taxes.

You generally shouldn't violate this rule, as any amount above 30 percent is money that has to come out of somewhere else in the budget. Many recent graduates' budgets are already stressed due to their entry-level pay and student loans. Even if your budget isn't too taxed, spending more on rent will prevent you from saving up as quickly for a house.