Congratulations on deciding to move out of your parent’s home. Welcome to the freedom of living on your own. All the word is a stage and you are front and center. It’s time to do what you want, when you want and have the time of your life.
Quick question, how are you going to do it?
Do you know how to figure out how to budget your rent? How do you get it furnished? Are you planning to have a roommate? All these questions and more need to be answered lest you get stuck tucking tail and moving home.
The first and most important question is how you are going to afford your rent. Living in a city with high rent comes the burden of actually being able to afford that rent. With rents well north of $1500 a month for a one bedroom, you need to get creative to figure out how to afford that rent check each month. Typically landlords require tenants to have rent be 40% of your gross income or less. So that $1500 apartment requires a $3750 a month income just to get in the door. If you don’t wish to be rent burdened and have money to actually enjoy life, you may want to limit your rent to the traditionally accepted range of 30% of income, now you need $5000 a month to afford that apartment.
Just like college, perhaps it’s time to have a roommate again. One advantage of college is that you don’t necessarily have to actually share a room, just the apartment. It’s a great way of splitting the expenses of an apartment. Remember, it isn’t just that rent payment. Your utility bills, internet, TV, all contribute to your housing expenses. If you could split those costs in half, now you’re a lot closer to being able enjoy life and not just survive the high price of LA living.
Now that you know what you can afford, where do you look? Craigslist is usually the best place to start searching for a new place. Generally most apartments are listed there. Also, it’s one of the few places you can find a room vs. a whole apartment to rent. One other good place to look is Zillow. It tends to have some listings that are not on Craigslist, but it does not have any roommate possibilities. One great way to find a roommate is through Facebook. There are many groups out there where people are posting and/or looking for rooms for rent. Also, your friends may know people who are looking even if they don’t post. Just a simple post of where and how much you are looking to spend can yield several options.
Once you found your first pad, you need to figure out how you are going to furnish it. Even if you don’t have a large budget, you can have a nice place to furnish out even without having to spend a ton. Instead of going to that Swedish furniture retailer, try perusing yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores. You may even consider shopping your own bedroom at home. Mom and Dad can usually help out too. Don’t be surprised when your parents want to convert that bedroom of yours into a home office. It’s an inexpensive way to both outfit your new place and have a little feel of home.