House Hunting After College
After graduating college, you feel empowered and ready to take on the world. You’re just entering adult living and may even have a job lined up.
The next step is finding a place to live.
If you’ve spent your college years living in a dorm or with parents, you’ll feel eager to have a place of your own. When house hunting, there are a variety of factors to consider: roommates, finances, location, etc.
This can all be a little overwhelming, but with some research and a good understanding of your finances, you can make this process very easy.
Renting is a great option for recent college grads and in many cases allows them to save money. What you want to be careful to avoid is overestimating your income. Especially if you did not have many bills in college, you’ll want to adjust to a higher list of expenditures.
Consider getting roommates. Roommates help to lower the monthly costs of rent and utility bills. When you’re deciding on a roommate, you’ll really want to consider someone who you can be open and honest with.
Roommates may encounter problems from time to time, so make sure you live with someone who is willing to work with you and compromise on things. Having a good roommate can make the whole process of living much easier.
When looking for a new place, always start with budget. If you already have a job lined up, you can roughly estimate how much money you’ll be making each month. It’s always a good idea to work backwards with finances.
Start with your static bills. Do you have a car payment or a student loan? By looking at expenses that are set in stone, you can subtract the costs and whatever you are left with can go towards rent, food, savings, etc.
Once you have estimated your finances you can start to identify how much you’re able to allocate on a place. This can also help you get an idea of the area. Don’t forget to consider your commute and transportation.
Understanding the Process
You want to be smart about rentals. It’s a great idea to get a realtor to help you look for places in your budget. They’ll also be able to find more places that are available because of their resources.
Make sure you understand what you’ll need for rent. You will likely need to have your credit score checked. If you do not make a certain percentage per year based off of the rent, you may also need to have a guarantor on the lease. Ask your realtor and potential landlord about what what’s required. Each place is different.
You will also want to make sure you have enough money saved to put a deposit down on the place. Once you have determined the cost of rent, consider setting aside enough money to cover the first and last month of rent as well as a deposit.
Looking for a place after college can seem overwhelming at first, but if you are prepared you can save yourself a lot stress. Remember to not rush into anything and to trust your gut. If something feels off about a place, you don’t need to commit to it.
If you’ve taken the time to get all of your paperwork in order and have your deposit set aside, you can find a place in no time. Ultimately, remember to stick to your budget and not over-estimate your potential earnings.
Alexis Schaffer received her undergraduate degree in psychology and is a registered nurse. In her free time she teaches yoga and writes for various online publications. She’s also the proud dog mom of a beagle named Dobby.