Life Skills Academy: Your First Apartment
How to Move into Your First Apartment
Teen Librarian Erik Berman shares his own experience moving into an apartment. He discusses the different types of rental units, how to find an apartment, the leasing process, and the logistics of moving into your first apartment. You’ll also learn some of the unexpected pitfalls of moving out and how to cope.
Next, let first-time apartment owner and recent SJSU graduate Angelica Cabanlit take you on a comprehensive tour of the many different ways you can go right and wrong when you’re embarking on the journey of finding and moving into an affordable apartment. Cabanlit’s perspective comes from firsthand experience, and you’ll learn about the ups and downs of figuring out where you want to live, looking for housing, and even living with roommates.
- Life after College: The New Graduate's Guide by Nadia Bilchik
Firsthand accounts, advice, and suggestions for anyone out on their own.
- California Tenants’ Rights by Janet Portman & David Brown
The definitive guide to your rights as a renter in California.
- Small Apartment Hacks: 101 Ingenious DIY Solutions for Living, Organizing, and Entertaining by Jenna Mahoney
How to make the most out of a small apartment, store your stuff, and still have parties.
- My First Apartment.com
Checklists, articles, and guides to help you understand every step of finding an apartment.
- Lifehacker.com - Renting
Check out Lifehacker’s section on renting for useful tips and tricks.
- Rent.com's "Moving into your First Apartment"
A quick guide to moving into an apartment. It’s also linked to blog.rent.com which is full of useful articles about finding and moving into an apartment and then actually living in it.
Tips & Tricks
- Be realistic about what you can afford. Rent may rise higher than your wages.
- Always look at the neighborhood before signing anything; there may be a reason why rent is so cheap.
- Never sign anything without reading it first.
- The best way to get a deal is to know someone. Ask your friends, neighbors, work or school buddies, and friends of friends if they know anyone.
- Roommates and housemates are great, but you’re stuck with them, so make sure you’re compatible.
- You will have unanticipated expenses.
- Beware of rental scams. Never email out information found on a rental application, including address, SSN, banking information, etc.
- Make a list of basic items you need and try to buy them strategically/cheaply (or get friends to buy them for you!).
- There are lots of cheap ways to make a small or rundown apartment look new and fresh.
- Know your tenant rights (go to the library and check out a book on your rights if you need to!).