You’re about to take a huge step in not only your career, but your life. If you’re willing to pick up and move for an internship, you need to understand the level of commitment. You’re moving into a new chapter of your life; you’ll be able to tell people, “I lived in (insert city here).” And while that’s exciting, you need to be sure that where you’re living is the right environment for you.
When starting your apartment hunt, you need to set a budget. Knowing how much you can afford each month is key to figuring out where you can stay. Be sure this not only includes monthly rent, but a safety deposit and utilities. Next, you want to figure out your lease details. Are you looking for something short term or long term? Do you want a sublet? Once again, this will help you narrow your criteria.
Pro tip: Video chat with your potential roommates to really get a look at the place.
And lastly, you need to actually look at apartments. Now, spending a day out in town walking through places isn’t always possible. If you’re going to work in a bigger city though, there are most likely Facebook groups with postings including details and pictures from other apartment owners. Personally, I used Gypsy Housing to find my place, and was able to get super close to where I work. You’ll most likely have to ask to join, by the way.
In these groups, you want to browse what is already posted about a month or two ahead of your ideal move-in date. In New York specifically, the turn around time for claiming a room is a matter of days, but it may vary in lesser populated cities. However, if it’s getting down to the wire and you still have yet to find a place, go ahead and post yourself, letting other members know what you’re looking for. They’ll help you find the best match.
Pro tip: If you’re subletting, always ask to see utility bills. You don’t want your roommate to screw you over.
Finding an apartment doesn’t have to be stressful. Start your hunt far enough in advance, know what you want, be sure to ask all questions – no matter how basic – and be confident in your final decision. Just in case you need somewhere to start, here’s what you should be asking:
- How much is the rent? When is it due?
- On average, how much are utilities?
- Do you need a security deposit?
- Is the lease short term or long term?
- Can you send me pictures of the apartment and/or room?
- Can you send me a couple pictures of the rest of the building?
- What is the area like? (Ex. Safety, culture, restaurants, nightlife)
- When was the last time someone lived in the apartment/in the room?
- Will there be any furniture left in the apartment/room? What exactly?
- Does my room have a closet?
- Will I have my own bathroom?
- How clean is the room? Will I need to clean upon moving in?
- Does the apartment have central AC or is it a window unit?
- Are there elevators?
- Is there a microwave?
- Is there a dishwasher?
- Is the washer/drier in the unit? If not, where is the closest laundromat?
- Is there a fridge/freezer?
- Where is the closest grocery store?
- How much kitchen/bathroom cabinet space is available?
- Do I need to bring my own pots and pans/dishes/kitchen essentials?
- Is there internet?
- Are there any quirks about the place? (Ex. Leaky faucet, jiggle the lock)
- What trains are nearby?
- How long have you lived there?
- Do you smoke? (Smoking of any kind)
- How often are you home? Do you ever rent the room out when you’re out of town?
- Do you have any pet peeves?
- Do you have any pets?
- What kind of roommate are you looking for?