Welcome to life after college, post-grad.
The time when facing problems bigger than waking up for class or cramming for finals is the least of your concerns. But don’t be scared – you’re not alone! Like those other post-collegiates, you get to make important life decisions, like finding your dream job and perfect place to live.
Finding a rental home after college is a mission most graduates are generally unprepared for. From not knowing the layout of a city to having unrealistic price expectations, the search for a new place will hit you with curve-balls.
Lease Anywhere, the experts in apartments and homes for rent in Houston, is here to give you tips on how to find an affordable place to live after graduation – something a textbook can’t teach.
Here are our top 4 tips to make the process EASY + AFFORDABLE!
1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Post-grad life isn’t like a game of Monopoly – you don’t have money to throw around. As a general rule, set aside one-third of your monthly salary for rent. Let’s crunch numbers: if you make $35,000 per year, you should aim to spend between $950 and $1,000 each month on rent. Lease Anywhere says in cities such as New York City, landlords will require your salary be at least 40 times your monthly rent. In most cases, though, your parents can add their names to the lease to back you financially, as a guarantor.
If you’re concerned about budgeting, don’t freak out. Free programs such as Learnvest (which lets you create and track a customizable monthly budget) and Splitwise (which calculates how to divide expenses among roommates) can help.
2. CONSIDER USING A REAL ESTATE AGENT OR BROKER
One of the biggest mistakes Lease Anywhere sees, is when graduates attempt to hunt for a new place without help, using sites likes Apartment Finder or Craigslist.
Real estate agents guide you through the lease signing process, explaining everything from the paperwork you need (tax forms, bank statements, recent pay stubs, employment verification letters, driver’s licenses and more) to how to close a deal. Basically, they represent your rights as a tenant.
Lease Anywhere recommends signing up with a realtor 60-90 days before a move so you can discuss your price range and criteria for your new apartment. Without real estate training, you can’t be expected to understand every detail of a lease. This can lead to confusion, discouragement, and legal problems. There are 100 little details on a lease that a qualified broker can go through in 20 minutes.
The downside of hiring realtors? Fees.
Fees vary depending on the real estate agent but it’s not uncommon to hear 15-20% of the annual rent, one month’s rent or one-half month’s rent, attached to their services. Be sure to ask upfront before they start working on your behalf.
3. FIND ROOMATES
Sharing a place with someone else is the easiest way to split costs and use living space efficiently. Discuss budgets and write out a list of features you want your ideal apartment to have so that everyone will be happy with the final decision.
If you need to find random roommates fast, use online tools like Easy Roommate and Roommates.com. You can post listings, view profiles of potential roommates and even have professional services match you with people. Dont forget to ask friends or co-workers for references of others who may be looking for a roommate, too.
4. NEGOTIATE WITH LANDLORDS
If you decide against hiring a broker, you can try and negotiate a lease on your own (although Lease Anywhere advises against it). Politely talk to your landlord to see if you can reach agreements that will lower your monthly rent, extend your lease beyond a year or allow you to pay rent upfront several months in advance. Offer to handle routine maintenance on your own, such as cutting the lawn or fixing appliances. However, don’t negotiate too hard, or you risk damaging your relationship with your landlord and having the deal fall through if you don’t act fast.
Lease Anywhere real estate agents are experts at helping you identify the best apartments and homes for rent in Houston. They know what is available in the Houston real estate market and also work with you to make your listing attract the best possible apartment finders and rental home seekers.
To find out more about listing your property or finding your next rental home, visit Lease Anywhere online or call 713-224-6604.