You’ve done it: You’ve made the transformation from college student to college graduate. Like a freed butterfly flexing new wings, you’re ready to go out and find your place in the world.
What you might not have realized is that the dorm room you’re leaving really was a kind of cocoon. It offered a turnkey existence, complete with janitorial services and a meal plan. Now, as you start that first “real” job (or continue to look for one), you have to set up housekeeping on your own.
Leaving the dorm room for your first apartment is a part of “adulting” that can be fun and exciting. But there are things to know in advance in order to enjoy the privileges and fulfill the responsibilities.
Find the Right Place
It won’t be the last place you live, but this first one gives you a chance to pick an apartment that supports the lifestyle you want to have right now. As you scout properties, keep these factors in mind:
Space. Is this place big enough? If it’s just you, a compact studio or one-bedroom may be fine. But if you want to take on a roommate or have lots of friends over, you’ll need more room.
Price. What can you realistically afford (see below for more)? Detroit luxury apartments are fantastic, but being cash-strapped by an apartment too-expensive for you is the pits.
Location. How close is the apartment to your work? Shopping and entertainment? Your significant other? Someday you’ll be glad to be close to all of these.
Security. Do you feel safe at this location? Would you be comfortable walking in the neighborhood at night? Does the building have security features?
Amenities. Some luxury apartments in Detroit include nice perks in the rent, such as onsite fitness centers. They can really sweeten the deal.
Know Your Real Costs
Rent won’t be your only expense. Sit down and make a realistic budget, and think of everything you’ll need.
Furnishings. Having something to sit and sleep on is A Good Thing. It’s also a chance to express your personality and creativity.
Moving expenses. If you have a lot of stuff to move, you may want to hire professional movers.
Utilities. Some utilities are usually included in the rent, such as water and sewer, but not all will be. Calculate what you’re responsible for.
Food. This includes groceries and dining out (take it easy on the latter).
Transportation. If you enjoy loft living and also work downtown, maybe you can do without a car, but remember bus and train fare. If you have an auto commute, budget for gas and parking.
Insurance. Renter’s insurance policies protect your belongings and include liability coverage for damage or injury you might cause to others. It’s essential.
Be a Good Neighbor
As a new apartment dweller, you’re part of a new community. Live responsibly.
Observe the rules. Pay your rent on time, use tenant facilities only during the hours prescribed, and follow procedures when moving in or out.
Keep the noise down. Many leases guarantee tenants the “peaceful or quiet enjoyment” of their spaces. This is a mutual responsibility.
Respect common areas. Lobbies, lounges, hallways and shared laundry facilities are to be enjoyed by all tenants. Pick up after yourself.