The Apartment Search for Recent College Grads

graduate apartment searchThere are many living options and many factors to consider when choosing a home and a life in a new city as a recent college graduate.  That’s why your apartment search might take you anywhere from the Midwest to the Deep South.  Being able to find a job is chief among your criteria, since the average debt of members of the graduating class of 2013 is around $35,000 (yikes!).  However, there are a few factors you can focus on to make your job and apartment search a little easier after college.  If you’re graduating soon and are looking for a place to start your post-college life, check out our tips to get you started.

Can you find a job in the city? Plenty of cities that are affordable aren’t exactly ideal for graduates who are starting the job search and the apartment search at square one.  Research job opportunities and discover as many connections as possible before moving to a new city.  For example, cities like Austin are known for their recent growth in the tech industry, and Houston sports a 3.8% job growth rate, making Houston apartments’ average rent of $1,311 more manageable.

How walkable is the city?  Cars, gas, and auto insurance are all expensive, so minimizing or even eliminating those costs is in your best interest.  Before you choose a new city, consider how easy it is to get around without a car.  To get started, find out the city’s Walk Score and check out the top walkable cities in the U.S.

How affordable is the city?  During your apartment search, take a good look at rent rates over the years, as well as the cost of buying vs. renting in any given city.  For example, the average rent in Raleigh is currently $646, with the average salary of a recent grad clocking in at around $34,000.  Do some research during your apartment search to find out the average age set, unemployment rate, and job growth rate of your prospective city.

What is city life like?  Get to know the city you’re considering before making any decisions.  What is the social scene like?  Is the city too small or too large for your preference?  Will you have peers your age in the area?  Is it too remote?  Is it too urban?  Find out as best you can what everyday life will be like before making any commitments.

What are your apartment search tips for recent college grads?  Tell us about your favorites cities by connecting with on Twitter and Facebook!