Apartment Hunting for the Poor

Posted on 24 February 2015 by admin

Opinions Editor Livie Hall gives advice on how to shop for apartments on a budget

 

By: LIVIE HALL

LIVIE HALL


Opinions Editor

 

As if being a broke college student was not bad enough already, it gets worse when it’s time to move out. Parents love their children and want them to succeed, but they also want them out. This being said, many kids are ready to get away from the rules and regulations that come with living with parents.

Finding an affordable apartment with a part-time job can be tricky, but luckily St. Louis is big enough to offer several options.

The first step is to figure a budget. The next part is the fun part and that is to start looking.

St. Louis’ safety changes from block to block. Good parts are surrounded by bad parts that are surrounded by good parts. Places like downtown, north city and north county are places to avoid.

It’s best to look for a place close to the necessities. It makes more sense to find somewhere minutes away from work and school. South city and south county have really great prices and Craigslist is the perfect website to find them.

With this in mind, Craigslist should always be used with caution. There are a lot of scams and shady people amongst those search results and there is a certain level of intelligence required to know the difference between those and legitimate opportunities.

When searching on Craigslist, make sure to select “has title” and “has image.” This gives the ability to visually examine the apartment. Never go off of an ad that only has text. The lessor can talk up the apartment, saying it’s “newly remodeled” and is only $300 a month. The apartment always ends up being gutted and not worth anything.

The site will ask for a price range. Make sure to put a minimum amount, at least around $400. Otherwise, a bunch of $1 offers appear and those are most definitely scams.

As far as extra help affording a place, the best thing to do is find a roommate. This will allow costs to be halved and will make a huge difference on a bank account. Finding the right roommate is the hardest part. Never search for someone “perfect” because they do not exist. With a year lease, people’s true colors come out and they are not always pretty.

There will be frustrations, arguments and nuisances, but this just comes with it. Sit down with family and talk with friends. Make sure to reserve enough time to really look at places. If the plan is to move out in May, start looking in late January, early February.

Use the next few months to gather boxes and save some extra money. Be prepared to pay first month’s rent and a security deposit. The first “big move” is the hardest, but the independence and real-world knowledge make it worth it.

 

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