Life After Graduation: Finding a Place to Live
You finally chose a major and stuck with it. You studied more than others and it paid off. You managed to make it to all those early-morning classes across campus, even in freezing temperatures. You graduated from college, and now everything else will seem like a piece of cake, in comparison, right? Not necessarily.
You’ve got a lot to think about. Where will you live? Are you willing to relocate for a great job? What are your minimum expectations and your loftiest goals?
As you think about finding a place to live, there are some important considerations to keep in mind. And – just like in college – you need to do your homework.
Immediate and long-term goals
Maybe you’ve already been sharing space with roommates near campus, or you’ve lived in campus housing throughout your college career, but now you have options. Now you don’t have to live next to a frat house.
If you’re like most recent graduates, you’re not even thinking about buying a house just yet. But it’s still a good idea to think about your long-term plans, and research the financial ups and down of renting and owning.
You should also be making decisions about your living situation based on relatable financial concerns. Will you need to drive to work? Do you own a car already or will that be something you need to purchase in the future? When do you need to begin paying student loans? Hopefully you’ve already been considering these elements during the job hunt, but, if not, make sure you consider these questions when you decide how much to pay for where you live.
When you’re moving into your own space for the first time, you should consider all of the expenses. You’ll likely need to cover your first and last month’s rent, along with a security deposit. And if you’ve never had utilities in your name, you may need to pay utility deposits, too.
If you’re moving to another city, getting your belongings there may cost you. Plus, the cost of living may be higher, too. So, even if you think you can afford to pay $900 a month in rent, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got money left over to handle other expenses, like saving for a down-payment on a house someday.
Even if you graduated with honors, don’t expect your first “grown-up” job to be easy. The first several months at a new job are some of the most important; you’re making an impression for yourself and you’re placing yourself within a community that already has a social system in place. And it’s not just the job security or positioning that’s going on here. These are the people you will work with for the foreseeable future. Get to know them. Make friendships.
Performing well at work and saving money will create the kind of stability and resources you’ll need when it’s time to buy your own home. Until then, choose a space that suits your needs – and your budget.