Finding the perfect apartment while working full time as a graduate student
Graduate students employed full-time often have a hard time finding the perfect new apartment. There is limited time to visit potential new homes. If you’re paying for your tuition as you are in school, your funds are limited as well. Here are four tips for graduate students looking to find the perfect apartment.
Work Out a Realistic Budget
To avoid working excess overtime, you need to set a realistic budget. Your budget should include rent, utility expenses, entertainment expense, tuition and books, car payments, etc. I emphasize realistic budget, because you don’t want to drive yourself crazy penny-pinching and depriving yourself of essentials.
Know Your Credit Score
Make sure you find out your credit score before applying for any apartments. Your requested deposit could be higher if you have a low credit score. Some units may require stellar credit while others are willing to work with less than perfect credit.
Explain to the property manager that you are a graduate student, as your student loans could weigh heavily on your credit score. This may make your debt-to-income ratio incredibly high. However, talking the situation through with the manager will do no good if you’ve defaulted on your student loans. Be sure to have an in-school deferment on your loans if you are unable to pay them. It will not affect your score negatively.
Find a Community That Has Plenty of Amenities
If you are taking an in-demand program, such as earning a masters in health informatics online, you will have many assignments on your hands. Since you’re working full-time, your study time is greatly reduced. You want to balance your work life and school life while maintaining peace of mind.
Search for properties where you can study in a relaxing atmosphere and take breaks as needed. You don’t want to be distracted by unruly neighbors. An example of a desirable community feature is a social lounge rooftop deck.
To help lower out-of-pocket expenses and travel time, seek units that offer amenities you frequently use. Check out apartments that have a fitness center onsite or nearby that provide residents access at no cost. You can save money on internet costs if they have a business center onsite for residents.
Check Out Virtual Tours to Avoid Wasting Your Time
Avoid trying to visit every apartment that sounds nice. If you’re not familiar with the area, ask a realtor to assist you. Ask for a virtual tour that includes a view of the neighborhood and the unit. This helps you discover what the neighborhood is like and how well-kept the property grounds are.
A tour just narrows your choices down. Do notÂ send anyone a deposit, because you never know if you’re walking into aÂ rental scam. These are all over the internet, especially on free sites such as Backpage or Craigslist. After you’ve found a few places of interest, visit them in person.
Implementing the four steps above will help you find the perfect apartment while you are working full-time. You’ll save time in the process and hopefully money.