#1 Edited by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

I'm looking into getting an apartment with someone in the near future, and had some general questions I thought some of the fine folks in the GB brain trust might be able to help me with. This is my first time since college, about 6 years ago, going out and looking for a place. So I'm a bit fuzzy on a few aspects. Back then the places I got were around $400 a month with utilities included. Every place I look for now has a minimum of around $600-$700 and utilities are never included since it's one of the more expensive places to live in the province.

Any who, here are the questions:

  • A lot of these places ask for references, but as I don't really have any to give is there any suggestions for what I can give instead? Short of making stuff up and getting friends/family to lie, I'm not sure how I can get past this part. I'm a very quiet and clean person, but I'm certain that they won't just take me at my word.
  • Is there some way to look up what the utilities may cost in my area? I live on a very tight budget, and was wondering if anyone knew of some database somewhere that may have that sort of thing. I tried looking around google but all I could find where other forum threads of people talking about what they pay. Obviously it will vary from location to location, but even a general idea would be a good start. I'm in New Brunswick Canada Found a site right after posting this. As per the usual.

I guess that's about it. Feel free to give any other advice or share any of your past experiences with getting new places. Also, any advice with living with a room mate? This will be my first time so I'm sure that will be an experience too.

EDIT: Dam it all. Typo in the title. Grrr...

#2 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Well if you REALLY do not have a refrenaces you should try neighbors. They can vouch for you and all. Like say you are not playing loud music at like 2 am. Not having your car parked in a strange spot (Having it just sit there for days) 

#3 Posted by Pierce (83 posts) -

I think neighbors would be a powerful form of references. Like what Laughing Man said, they can vouch for your overall civility. Short of background checks, references will lend towards your character and ability to obey the law.

#4 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

After you move in, inspect *everything* and make sure your landlord/lady knows of anything that they need to fix. Also, make sure your place is wired. I made the mistake of not making sure my phone line was physically hooked up to the jacks, and I spent a few weeks without Internet because of that oversight.

#5 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

@The_Laughing_Man: @Pierce: Sadly I live in the country so I have no neighbors. Unless you count the cows in the fields.

@Ubersmake:How do you test stuff like that?

#6 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

@Ubersmake:How do you test stuff like that?

I guess the simplest way is to just ask. Which is something I completely failed to do, because I always assumed it would be hooked up. The same goes for all your utilities. Another thing I forgot to ask about was heating. If you have a furnace for heating, make sure you can turn it on.

#7 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

@Ubersmake: I suppose that would work. Some times simple is the best solution.

#8 Edited by Butler (392 posts) -

Since I moved out of my original house embarking on that grand adventure called college, I've lived in about 5 different apartments with with neat freaks, slobs, drug dealers, whores, and philosophers.

With the inspect everything motto, take a video and/or photographs of the place with a newspaper in the frame so you can verify the date! I cannot stress this enough. I've had 2 landlords that fought me tooth and nail over a measly security deposit. From what I've learned they simply collect the security deposits on the pledge that they are going to fix the place, not spend it on repairs, wait for the new chums to move in with the preexisting faulty conditions and charge them the same fee to "fix" the place. Rinse and repeat. Hopefully your landlord isn't a scumbag but they are out there and they are Scummmm-eee. Also, take pictures before you move out too. Two of us repainted the apartment with the specific paint left over from the original repainting of the apartment by the superintendent to spruce it before we left. You know, cover up all the scuff marks and stains etc. I've also been a painter of house exterior/interior for about 8 years now to give you some credence to my abilities with a paintbrush and the dweebo charged us something to the tune of 200 hundy to repaint the place because the walls were dirty. Bollocks to that. They just take your money!

With regards to roommates. Space is key. I lived with close friends but if someone is always around, always in your face, always in your proximity you will learn ways to hate them. Even if they aren't inherently annoying. This is why children/teens fight with parents, and relationships with loved ones become so trying. You need your me time and they need theirs. Oh and don't leave passive aggressive notes on the fridge if something is bothering you. Confront the issue and work it out face to face. Also make the cleaning a shared activity and make it fun. You can bond with your friends when listening to loud music while scrubbing a toilet and shower.

With regards to heating multiple blankets is much more cost effective than a high heating bill. ^^

Good luck friend.

#9 Posted by LTSmash (659 posts) -

I work in apartment management and when looking at an application the most important factors for us are

1) credit history

2) current employment (income level, time at the job, likelihood of continuing)

3) reference from previous landlord

If these are weak, a landlord may accept your parents as co-signers or a higher security deposit (or both).

#10 Posted by mosespippy (4458 posts) -

@crusader8463: Have you tried getting an employer to be a reference? They can provide a much better judgement of character since they spend more time with you than your landlord would.

#11 Edited by Doctorchimp (4055 posts) -

@crusader8463: Neighbors and bosses/teachers.

Also make sure to check what sort of services you can get for cable/internet. I made sure I was in a FiOS neighborhood to avoid Charter.

EDIT: I just saw you live in Canada so nevermind.

#12 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

@mosespippy said:

@crusader8463: Have you tried getting an employer to be a reference? They can provide a much better judgement of character since they spend more time with you than your landlord would.

I might be able to get someone from work, but I just started working for the first time in many years back in September. I'm just not certain what exactly a good reference would be, as I have never had to have one before. I'm a very solitary person so it's hard to find people to use as a reference.

@Doctorchimp said:

@crusader8463: Neighbors and bosses/teachers.

Also make sure to check what sort of services you can get for cable/internet. I made sure I was in a FiOS neighborhood to avoid Charter.

EDIT: I just saw you live in Canada so nevermind.

Ya, I already looked into that. The entire city was wired for Fiber Optics many many many years ago, so that's not a problem. As long as it's within city limits, and not a hundred plus year old building, you are good to go anywhere.

#13 Posted by JasonR86 (9728 posts) -

@crusader8463:

If you could, I would try to save up and put a down payment on a house. Depending on where you live, you can get a really nice house for half what it was worth 5 or 6 years ago. If you could put down $15-20K on a 90-150K house you could probably pay a lower monthly payment then that of an apartment. Plus, once the market gets back on track you could resell the house for twice as much. If you can't wait to save up for a down-payment you can get a loan specifically designed for a down-payment that has a really low interest rate.

#14 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

@Butler:Thanks for the tips. I will certainly make a point to inspect the place over and take photos of any problem areas. As for the friend, I'm pretty sure we will get along fine. I only know him from work, but we agree on just about everything and we both have that "Meh, agree to disagree" mentality when we do find that odd disagreement. When he asked me if I wanted to get a place with him, he is having problems with his old land lord and can't afford a place on his own, I made a point to make it clear that if we do get a place don't expect me to be hanging out and talking to him all the time because I'm not a very sociable person by nature, but I'm a huge stickler for my alone time when not at work. And he felt the same way.

I'm kind of at this place in my life where I'm sick of everything. So a change like this just feels like something that would be good for me. If it doesn't work out I can always come back home or just find a cheaper place on my own pretty easily. I just feel like I need a big change in my life, and something like this should be it. Though every time I try to do a budget of this in my head it always makes me scared seeing how little I have left over to pay back loans and just general save up money for the oh shit I gotta buy something expensive moments life throws at you.

Time will tell.

@LTSmash: I have no idea how my credit looks, but I'm sure it's not great given my student loan. I got a full time job five days a week at $11/h, so I get around $1000-$1200 a month after taxes and throwing in the odd variety in shifts. As for references, well that's something I'm still working on. I'm not ware of it, but people tell me that I always seem to give out this harmless, trusting, good guy charm when I need to get my way with people so Hopefully that will come across.

#15 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

@JasonR86:Oh no! I'm in no position for a house, nor do I want to have to tie myself down to something like that. I'm only 25, single, got a $30k student loan I have to start paying back, and still working at a job and no where near any semblance of a career. A house is not for me.

#16 Posted by JasonR86 (9728 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

@JasonR86:Oh no! I'm in no position for a house, nor do I want to have to tie myself down to something like that. I'm only 25, single, got a $30k student loan I have to start paying back, and still working at a job and no where near any semblance of a career. A house is not for me.

Yeah, I hear you. That's my personal plan when I finish my degree next year and start finally working. It sounds bulletproof right now! We'll find out a few years from now though.

#17 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

@crusader8463:

If you could, I would try to save up and put a down payment on a house. Depending on where you live, you can get a really nice house for half what it was worth 5 or 6 years ago. If you could put down $15-20K on a 90-150K house you could probably pay a lower monthly payment then that of an apartment. Plus, once the market gets back on track you could resell the house for twice as much. If you can't wait to save up for a down-payment you can get a loan specifically designed for a down-payment that has a really low interest rate.

This is what my accounting teacher in high school urged everyone to do, and he was a pretty smart dude.

#18 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

@PeasantAbuse said:

@JasonR86 said:

@crusader8463:

If you could, I would try to save up and put a down payment on a house. Depending on where you live, you can get a really nice house for half what it was worth 5 or 6 years ago. If you could put down $15-20K on a 90-150K house you could probably pay a lower monthly payment then that of an apartment. Plus, once the market gets back on track you could resell the house for twice as much. If you can't wait to save up for a down-payment you can get a loan specifically designed for a down-payment that has a really low interest rate.

This is what my accounting teacher in high school urged everyone to do, and he was a pretty smart dude.

Ya, I have heard that idea before and if I was in a position to do so I would, but I'm very far off from something like that. If I get a good job in the near future I would look into it, but I won't be holding my breath for that to happen any time soon.