After graduation, the daunting task of moving to a new city and finding affordable housing may seem intimidating. How can you know what parts of town to avoid or which apartments are dominated by retired couples or undergrads? Your thought process going into this next chapter of life is very different than that of your college years.

Because of this, you may need to take different things into account when looking for housing. We’ve put together a few tips that will hopefully make it easier for when it comes time to look for your first post-grad home.

Be Aware of The Noise or Activity Levels in the Area

Whether you are staying in your college town or moving across the country, being aware of who lives in your area and the general environment around your new home is important. While we all loved college and already wish we could go back, the transition to working full time means that sleep time is sacred time. Try to avoid complexes full of undergrads who are still taking full advantage of their freedom.

Apartment Locks Changed.

Crime

Looking up the crime statistics for the area you want to live in is especially important for those wanting to live alone. Be aware of shady parking lots, complexes without camera security, and public facilities like laundry or gyms. It’s also never a bad idea to have the apartment complex install new locks once you move in.

Updated Appliances Apartment.

Appliances and Amenities

If you’re able to, opt for the apartment that has updated appliances and air systems. While this may increase the upfront price or rent slightly, the updated electronics should help you save on your gas and electric bill. Also, if you’re able, choose the apartment that has a washer and dryer in unit. This removes the need for shared laundry stations or trips to the laundromat, which can be inconvenient — and a safety risk.

Get to Know the Neighbors

Especially if you live alone, make sure to introduce yourself to the neighbors. Knowing familiar faces and being known in and around your complex will create a safer living situation. Not to mention that this is a great way to build community in a new city.

Meet The Neighbors.

Roommates

While roommates were an essential part of undergrad life, you may find that you feel strongly about wanting or not wanting roommates in your new area. Roommates tend to make rent cheaper and allow for social interaction without making plans outside your home. However, having a random roommate post-grad can be really tough. Make sure to get to know who you would be living with. Understand their schedule, the expectations for cleanliness, guests and pets.

While it can be a challenging transition into this new and unfamiliar stage of life, this process will help you learn a lot about yourself. When it comes to housing, do everything you can to set yourself up in a positive environment. This will help you avoid bad situations down the road and will lead to an overall exciting experience.

Text by Amy Haupt