90% of young adult renters say they have at least one regret about their rental property.

Don't be the 90%!

Earning the title of “first-time apartment tenant” is an exciting rite of passage. It requires, however, a lot of knowledge and organization.

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Create a first apartment checklist to give you the confidence and know-how to find your first perfect place.

What Can I Afford?

Flaticon Icon Determine an "affordable" amount to spend each month for rent. Thirty percent or less of your monthly incomeis considered affordable. Do the math!

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Cost impacts the type of apartment you can afford:

  • Studio (1 open room, no separate bedroom)

  • 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, etc.

Will I Live Alone or with Roommates?

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Roommate Ready

I'm comfortable with:

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Solo-living Ready

I'm comfortable with:

  • Higher costs in rent and bills

  • Being alone for long periods

  • Household duties on my own

Which Neighborhood is a Good Fit?

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Questions to consider when choosing an apartment location:

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  • Can I afford to live in this area?

  • Is the neighborhood safe?

  • How close am I to school? Work? Loved ones?

  • How easy is walking, biking, or driving in the area?


Ava loves downtown and is looking for apartments in the area. What should she consider priorities?

What Can’t I Live Without?

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Your first apartment checklist should rank your must-haves.  

These may include:

In-Unit Amenities

  • Washer/Dryer unit

  • Air conditioning

  • Dishwasher

  • Windows with natural light

  • Closet and storage spaces

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Community Amenities

  • Pet-friendly

  • Secure bike/car parking

  • Laundry facilities

  • Security systems

  • Recreational area

Prepare Questions for Your Apartment Tours

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Show you're in the know by asking important renting questions.

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Ask the landlord:

  • What’s the application process?

  • How soon can I move in, if interested?

  • Are any utilities included in the rent?

  • What are the income requirements?

  • Can a guarantor co-sign if I don’t meet the requirements?

  • What are the options for purchasing tenant insurance?

What to Look for on Your Apartment Tours

Flaticon Icon Love the online photos of your potential new oasis? Check it out in person and confirm it meets your standards.

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Be on the lookout for:

  • Strong cell phone reception

  • Secure doors and windows

  • Noise levels in the unit and building

  • Water pressure of sinks, toilets, and showers

  • Signs of pests in the unit andbuilding (nests, droppings, smells)

Gather Necessary Paperwork

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Prepping paperwork puts you ahead of the game from other prospective renters!

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Start securing these items in a safe place!

1. Copies of your:

  • pay stubs

  • bank statements

  • government photo ID

  • references

2. Application form

3. Check or money order for the application fee


You've found, "The One!" The landlord needs a government-issued ID. Which forms of IDs could you use?

Take Action

Are you all set to move into your first apartment?

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