I've always considered myself to be an independent person. Working and striving to do the best to accomplish my goals. Shortly after college I did what most freshly graduated seniors do, move back in with mom and dad. Luckily, I was able to find a job shortly after, and realized that in order to be able to live independently, I'd need to start saving.
Saving takes time and patience; creating a "nest egg" isn't something that happens over night. After 10 months I was finally able to start searching for a place to call my own. Of course, everything I loved was completely out of budget or I was beat out by another applicant with longer rental history. The process was never-ending and incredibly taxing on the positivity mind-set. In fact, two of the listings that I applied to turned out to complete scams!
A close friend had recommended that I check out her complex, and sure enough they had the perfect unit available. I had been to there many times (as a guest) but, had never considered living in the building. Although on the older side, it had great bones and the management was more than friendly. Without wasting any more time I submitted my paper work, and within a month was living in the building.
Now, a year later I couldn't be happier with the location and my space. It isn't the biggest or modern but it's perfect for me. Really, these things are only bonuses, if it feels like home to you thats all that matters. I know how hard it can be to find a place to rent, especially in the Bay Area, so I've complied a list of a few tips that will help you find your own hidden gem.
Don't be fooled by Scams: Websites like Craigslist are full of people looking to make a quick buck. If the listing sounds too good to be true - it probably is.
Factor in HOA's: Many larger scale buildings will have additional property fees on top of the monthly rental payment. Also, keep in mind that all buildings require some kind of security deposit (usually first & last month's rent).
Location, Location, Location: Do you plan on commuting? If so make sure the building is in a location close or walking distance to public transportation, freeways, etc.
Stop, Look & Listen: Is the building filled with noise or close to construction? Consider driving by during the evening and morning hours to see if this is something you could live with. Another thing to consider is where the unit is located, if you share walls with another tenant, apartments aren't as sound-proof as you think!
Don't settle for the first thing you see: Look around and truly research the area. Make a point to see at least 3-4 units/properties before jumping in.
Don't give up: You'd be surprised how things fall into your lap. Whether through a friend or just by spotting a place while driving around. If it's meant to happen it will!
Compensation was provided by State Farm via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of State Farm.