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Tips for Picking the Right Apartment for Your Lifestyle

When you’re looking for the right apartment, you need to keep in mind what you need to support your lifestyle, like rent range, size, location and entertainment goals. Before you sign a lease, make sure you won’t wake up with remorse later down the line.

It’s all about money

Before you invest time into your apartment search, take a look at your finances and determine how much you can pay a month for housing. A popular adage says that you should only spend about 30 percent of your gross income, or income before taxes, on rent or a mortgage. Another common way to create a budget involves net income, or what gets deposited in your account after taxes. It’s called the 50/30/20 rule, and to follow it you should set aside 50 percent of your income for needs, 30 percent on wants, and 20 percent for debt payments and savings. Rent and loan payments on an apartment would fall into the 50 percent area, but so would budget items like insurance, groceries and utilities.

Both of these methods are useful to help you plan your finances and determine your optimal monthly payment, but they’re not foolproof. If you live in a big city, you will probably need to spend a lot more on housing than if you live out in the suburbs.

Pick your location

Once you know how much you can pay for housing, it’s time to look at a map and find the right spot. You might work in one part of town and hang out with friends in another, so it’s up to you to determine where you would like to live in relation to those locations. Your budget will also impact the parts of town you start your search in – the hopping downtown area might have all the social hot spots, but that often means it bears a larger price tag.

List your essentials

Sure, you dream of a Jacuzzi in your apartment, but it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if a unit doesn’t have one. When you’re getting ready to look at new dwellings, make a list of everything you absolutely need in an apartment to help you find places good enough for a visit. This could include things as essential as wheelchair-accessible spaces, easy grass access for pets, or bedroom counts. You can also make a stand on other features, like central heat and air conditioning, laundry facilities and dishwashers.

This is also the time to think of what you want to do in an apartment. If you have dreams of movie nights or dinner parties with friends, you’ll want to prioritize apartments with more square footage in the living or dining space. If you plan on working from home, consider floorplans with an extra bedroom or nook for your computer and other supplies.

Visit when possible

Looking online at apartments is comfortable and convenient, but if you can look at the units in person, you should. When you walk in a space, you might realize that the unit has windows, but they don’t let in a lot of light. A realtor might describe a closet as a walk-in when in reality you can only lean in. Besides looking at the apartment, you should also stop and listen. If you’re a light sleeper, thin walls or loud traffic sounds could keep you up late at night.

Apartment hunting can be fun once you know what you’re looking for. With all the right tools, you can find the perfect spot to call home.

This article is presented by Walnut Creek Honda.
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