Tips for Renting Your First Apartment

Tips for Renting Your First Apartment

by -

Heading out into the world after college or when you leave home is an exciting time in your life. It can also be a bit scary because although on the one hand, a world of possibilities is opening up for you, you’re also taking a major step into independence. 

If you’re thinking about renting your first apartment, you probably feel a mixture of emotions, but the trick to managing this transition period is to plan carefully for your new life. Preparing properly for renting helps you avoid the potential pitfalls and ensure all your legal safeguards are in place, and you’ll be able to move in and enjoy the experience with no nasty surprises waiting for you.

Finding your apartment

Some of the best apartments are the ones you hear about through word of mouth. If you find out anyone you know is planning to move out and they have a nice apartment, don’t be shy about jumping in and enquiring about taking on the apartment yourself. Very often the best places never make it tothe small ads or property websites, so keep your ears alert to any news about what other renters are up to.

As part of your searching, you can use social media channels to ask if anyone knows of a decent place available to rent. However, if you do decide to make it known you’re looking, make sure you safeguard your personal information. Someone who claims to know just the place when they post to your Twitter account could be genuine, or they could have less pleasant motivations, so don’t take any chances with your personal safety.

While you’re waiting to hear about vacancies that may be coming up, it’s sensible to keep a check on all the local sites and papers that advertise apartments for rent. Most might be no good at all – too expensive, wrong area, wrong size; but you never know when you might happen upon the right place at the right time. Scan the listings as soon as they’re published, and register with rental agencies, so you’re first to hear about new apartments.

Budgeting for your first apartment

When you’re planning your move, one of the main considerations will be money. It’s not just the rent to pay;there’ll be rent in advance and a security deposit to cover as well. You might need to furnish your apartment – you can renta furnished space, but that’s usually more expensive. Then you’ll have your regular bills like power, water, food before you even start to think about having any money left over.

It’s essential to sort out your budget in advance of starting your search and to have realistic figures in place for all your expenses. If you have a low credit score and are finding it difficult to raise any credit, talk to a service such as, who’ll be able to advise you on the best ways to repair your credit score and find affordable credit.

Sharing an apartment

Friends very often decide to set up home together, and this can work very well. You do need to bear in mind that being friends isn’t the same as living together, so you need to be confident you’ll be compatible and not fall out. It’s a good idea to set up a few ground rules – nothing too draconian, just enough to prevent arguments about whose turn it is to empty the bins or clean the bathroom. 

You can also advertise for someone to come and share an apartment you’ve found that may stretch your budget, or just to bring in some extra income. Make sure you follow safetyprocedures for meeting prospective sharers, and that you have their full details and references before you go any further. 

Furnishing your apartment

It’s amazing how generous people can be when you’re first setting up home, and you’ll no doubt be offered all sorts of household items for free or at a very low cost to get you started. If you’re on a tight budget or you’re being extra careful, use services like Freecycle to pick up useful items that people are getting rid of, and check out what’s for sale in your local thrift stores. Just be careful with second-hand electricals, because you don’t want to risk having anything in your apartment that could cause a fire.

The day you move into your first apartment will be an occasion you’ll never forget, and if you’ve completed your preparations thoroughly, it will be the first of many happy days to come.



Amy Scalia
Publisher & CEO - Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at From growing up in the cornfields of Harrison and getting a Mass Communications B.A. degree in the bubble of Oxford, to living on the NKY side of the river in Newport and then Ft. Thomas, Amy Scalia has embraced Cincinnati with her presence. Her major life accomplishments include: being a mom of two girls and a boy, a 2010 "40 Under 40" recipient from the Cincinnati Business Courier, winning the "Best New Product/Service of the Year" Award from the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and a national Web-writing award from ASHPE in 2007, a national feature writing award from ASBPE in 2006, and running three Flying Pig Marathons.