The Apartment Hunt for New Grads

As an upcoming graduate, I have been plastered with questions about post-graduation. Most of those questions relate to what type of career I will pursue and where I will live. Recently, I have received more clarity as to where I will be working following graduation so the next big question is living arrangements.

As a soon-to-be college graduate, buying a house is out of the question. Financially, I am capable of affording an apartment; however, apartment searching can be challenging. In this blog I will highlight seven key things all college graduates should consider before signing an apartment lease.

  1. Upfront costs

  2. Long-term costs

  3. What you need

  4. Lease Term

  5. Roommates

  6. Pets

  7. Location

Upfront costs:

Depending on the apartment complex, additional fees will arise before you are required to pay rent. A few of those costs may be application fees, security deposit, and a month of rent in advance.

Long-term costs:

Rent may not be the only thing that you will be required to pay on a monthly basis. In addition to rent, you might have to pay utilities, renters insurance, and other variable expenses.

What you need:

If an apartment is unfurnished, you will be responsible to purchase or to bring those items.

Lease Term:

A lease is a legal document that discloses all information regarding your agreement between the landlord and the tenant. Be sure to read all of the fine print on this document before signing as well as ask questions. For example, if you have a temporary 9-month job but have signed a 12-month lease then see if the landlord has an early termination clause. Some apartments also offer 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, and 9 month leases along with their 1 year agreement, although they monthly cost often increases the shorter the agreement.


If you are living with roommates in an apartment, make sure that each person signs the lease. If one person fails to sign the lease then they are not legally held to any contract; therefore, if they stopped paying the rent then you are obligated to cover their expenses too.


Talk to your landlord about pets before signing a lease. Discuss whether pets are allowed, if you would have to pay a pet deposit, or add an extra pet fee onto your monthly rent.


The location of your apartment will play a big factor in other expenses. For example, if you live in an apartment 30 miles from work then you will be paying more in gasoline or in transportation, than you would if you were in walking distance of work.

Overall, it is critical to understand that there are additional expenses, other than rent, to an apartment. Be diligent and factor in all estimated expenses before renting an apartment.

All of this information was gathered from: