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By Heidi Marie Ginter
MoneyMix Contributor

Sick of moving every year, trying to find an apartment conducive to partying and starting off your life? Students especially are on the prowl for the perfect place to call home every few months, or so. Here are some tips to ease the stress of finding your first, next, and possibly last apartment.


Do you want to be downtown, close to work/school or is it possible for you to be a bit off campus? Location is key for students without cars. It's also important for new grads who don’t want to spend a fortune driving back and forth to their new job.


After finding a location that suits your needs, figure out what you can afford. This is becoming much easier with online apartment postings. Many Web sites allow you to search by both location and price to find an apartment that meets your needs. There are a ton of 'em so do a quick internet search, or ask a friend.


There are so many landlords in this city that you’ll want to find out the positives and negatives of renting from each one—this will give you an idea of what you can expect if you live there. Check out newspaper articles or talk to some tenants to see what their experience has been like.

ask questions

Who pays utilities? If you're in a cold area heat can get pretty expensive during the winter! Contact the local gas and electric company for a copy of last year's heating bills. Is parking available and for how much? Does the building have laundry facilities? What security and fire protection features does the building have?

see the apartment you'll be renting

Don't fall in love with the model; your apartment could be run down, smaller, or face a brick wall. Does this apartment appear to meet your needs? Is there enough light? Too much noise?

get renter's insurance

Most landlords' insurance doesn't cover personal property, yet it only takes a few high-ticket items to justify the expense. Check if your financial institution offers it. Answering these basic questions will save you time, money, and frustration, allowing you to make the best decision about a place to call home. And remember, it's never too early to start looking. The perfect place could be just around the corner!

Published September 14, 2007

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This is a well-written article with some good tips--especially the one about renter's insurance. Renter's insurance wasn't something I had ever really thought about until a few years ago when the company that insures my car offered to give me a discount on my car insurance if I took out renter's insurance with them. After crunching numbers, I realized that taking out renter's insurance would actually pay for itself once I saw the discount on my car insurance.


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