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Akame009's avatar

When should I start applying to apartments?

Asked by Akame009 (227points) November 3rd, 2019

I am currently a freshman in college and am planning on moving in with my boyfriend during the summer. We have been dating for 5 years now and feel like we are ready for the next step. I have found four different apartment building in the city and we plan to move into the building in June. Should I start applying in April or May since it is a college town? Also when scoping out the apartments in person are there any little tricks I should look for to make sure it is a good place? Any advice would be amazing. Thank you!!!

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17 Answers

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Well do you have first and last month’s rent and a deposit ready to go?
Also are you prepared to start paying rent every month beginning in April or May?

zenvelo's avatar

If you are looking near a college campus, start looking now. My daughter goes to school in Worcester MA, and the administration starts sending out reminders for next year’s housing in mid November.

Because it is a college town, they will most likely want a deposit to hold it until Mar h or April, and then first and last before getting the keys. The deposit will be your security/ deposit, refundable when you move out and leave the apartment,ent in good shape.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Are they really going to forego rents for several months before they move in @zenvelo? I don’t know how that would work…

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_lll These are college student apartments, not your regular apartments. They are reserving a unit for next school year, there is no rent to pay until they move in.

The apartment isn’t going to sit vacant, they are occupied until school is out. But college rental agencies start taking applications now, even if things are not decided until January.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Thanks. It’s been so long I don’t remember. I started out in Goodnow Hall at K State. What an adventure!

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @zenvelo. You can start now. Find what you like best and apply to that one, and lock it in.

Hopefully, you can hold it with a minimal amount now, and maybe pay more closer to move in date. Applications probably have a fee, why pay multiple fees if you know your first choice? Do you have a credit score problem that might hinder your acceptance?

The latest I would wait is March. April and May is way to late in most college towns, most students already know they will be attending school in the fall or moving out from the dorms to an apartment before then.

As far as good places, I care that it doesn’t smell like mold or dog. That’s me though. Some people aren’t as sensitive to those things as me. Other things you might consider: washer dryer in the unit, parking situation (assigned, extra fee, covered, etc) grocery store nearby, gym, pool, free coffee, computer room, I don’t know what city you are in, nor your budget, so I can’t say what might be standard.

jca2's avatar

Look at the neighborhood. Is it safe? Can you walk to the bank or coffee shop, if you have to? If you have a car, you’re going to look at parking. Is there a garage? A parking lot? Do you have to pay for parking? What about guest parking? If it’s on the street parking, is it plentiful? Or are you going to be driving around late at night or on a weekend looking for a spot?

If you don’t have a car, is public transportation nearby? Is it safe if you have to walk several blocks to a train station or bus stop?

jca2's avatar

Also, you say you feel you are ready to take the next step with your boyfriend. You have had this discussion with him about moving in together, yes?

janbb's avatar

From the details, it doesn’t sound to me like the OP is looking at college housing apartments but regular ones in the city. I would think this is far too early to look but perhaps February, March would be the time. I might be wrong on this however.

Think about accessibility to campus and how you are going o get there, safety and cleanliness. How is the building maintained? Visit the neighborhood at different times of day and night to see if it feels safe. What costs are included in the rent? Is the lease for a year or month to month?

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb If it’s a college town all the apartments near campus probably cater to students. The only way for the OP to know is to start talking to the leasing departments of the apartments she likes. They’ll tell her to come back in March or April if that’s the timing they need.

janbb's avatar

^ Makes sense.

Akame009's avatar

@janbb @Dutchess_lll and @zenvelo We are looking apartments that happen to be in the city, not college apartments. Sorry I did not make that clear. I have around 1000 saved for the deposit and first months rent. Do I need to save more for the month before move in? Also, I turned 18 in August, so I don’t have a credit score at all. Will that hinder me too bad?

JLeslie's avatar

We have no idea what city you are in, or what apartments require in your city. In Boca Raton, FL you need first, lady and security, and the security is the same as a month’s rent, so if the rent is $1k a month, you need to put down $3k when you sign the lease. In Raleigh, NC, you usually need $200 security, and one month rent. So, you would only need $1,200 at time of signing the lease.

Do you have $1k and then you have zero left in your bank account? You should have a cushion of money in savings so if you have something go wrong (God forbid) you can still pay rent and expenses for a month or two. Ideally for 6 months, but you’re so young that usually is a tall order. The 6 month rule is more for older adults, but something to keep in mind for the future.

You can go to the apartment complexes and ask what they will need in terms of money and how much lead time to securing the apartment. They have staff that will tell you what you need. If it won’t work out at an apartment complex you can rent directly from a property owner. Sometimes that’s easier. It just depends.

Is your boyfriend older? Do you both have jobs? Your credit isn’t probably very bad if you haven’t done anything to screw it up, like not pay bills on time. Have you checked your credit score? Is your boyfriend a student too? Or, he works full time? You can start building your credit score by opening a credit card and not using it or using it for just a few dollars, and ALWAYS paying it off in FULL. Never just do the minimum payment. What raises your credit score is having open credit. What that means is if the credit card company gives you $1,000 limit, then you now have $1,000 open credit. If you spend $700 on the credit card you now only have $300 open credit. Only using the credit card for small amounts and paying in full shows creditors you can control your spending and pay your bills. Plus, not paying in full will mean you pay interest—NEVER do it. It has to be a dire emergency, literally life and death, to justify paying a credit card money interest. Never overspend your money if you can avoid it. If you apply for a credit card make sure there is no annual fee, so it costs you nothing to have the card sitting in your wallet.

Every time a company runs your credit it lowers your credit score, but if you do a few apartment application within a few weeks then they should altogether count like just 1 company running your score. So, don’t sign off on the app until your ready, rather just go and get some information. I think the ding on your credit goes away after three months for something like that.

When I lived off campus in MI I don’t think they checked much of anything. I don’t remember. It requires very little money down.

Do your parents help with your tuition and housing now? Will they help pay for the apartment?

Akame009's avatar

@JLeslie My boyfriend is older, hes not a student, and is working on getting two jobs lined up. We will be living in Stillwater, Ok. I am only working one job so that I can stay full time in school. I have not looked at my credit score or done anything to increase or decrease it. I have honestly never touched it. My mom has a parent plus loan with the school, but other than that it is all payed for through FASFA and scholarships. However, she is not going to help with the apartment because me and my boyfriend decided to do it on our own.

JLeslie's avatar

^^If your boyfriend has good credit and a full time job (and he has the job for a while) just put the apartment in his name. Problem solved.

Akame009's avatar

^^I would love to, but he is moving up here a month before hand. Plus, I’m not sure if he has credit either tbh

JLeslie's avatar

@Alame009 If you are going to move in with him, which I assume is a prelude to possible marriage, you should have some idea of his financial situation.

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