Everyone can agree: 2020 was a year like no other. For new grads, the “new normal” also includes navigating new jobs, new cities, new living spaces. Whether you want to rent or buy, put down roots in a new town, test out a larger—or smaller—city, or move closer to friends and family, there are options and opportunities for every young adult to consider as they venture out. While the “real world” may be a little uncertain, knowing what to look for in your post-school condo or apartment can help ease the transition into full adulting.
Location, location, location!
For young adults, home is more than four walls and a roof. New grads and young professionals tend to gravitate to areas that provide good job opportunities, diverse social life and entertainment choices, and affordable housing options. According to recent reports, smaller metro areas, like Milwaukee, Boston, and Seattle offer a healthy balance of well-rounded economies, affordable housing, and emerging social scenes that appeal to young professionals just starting out.
While Silicon Valley remains a top destination for post-grads looking to make it big, the housing market is extremely competitive. However, the pandemic brought new factors worth considering. When most companies had to pivot to remote work options, the tech-based Bay Area quickly adapted, providing job security and peace of mind for employees. Austin, Raleigh, and Atlanta are emerging as the next big tech towns, and young adults are taking notice.
Overall, the polls show that for new grads and young professionals, some of the hottest areas that check all the boxes—promising job prospects and affordable housing in a vibrant location—are in Colorado, with Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Denver attracting hordes of young professionals and new grads since 2020 and beyond.
Finding the best fit for you
After affordability and career potential, there are many smaller but equally important factors to consider for your post-school life, including:
- Prioritizing your wants and needs. Moving and putting roots down can be a stressful and expensive task, so be as clear-eyed about your budget and priorities as possible. Be sure to factor in all your costs, both short-term (moving costs, application fees, first and last month’s rent, installation costs for internet or cable, etc.) and long-term (parking fees, monthly expenses, cost of commuting, etc.).
- Be specific. Consider your current lifestyle and what would work best for you. For some new grads, renting a space on a month-to-month or year-long lease gives more options for fluctuation plans. For others, investing in a long-term living space, like buying a condo, might be the better fit. Knowing the parameters of your budget and your preferences will go a long way in finding your perfect place. Are you looking for a quiet, tree-lined street or the bustling epicenter of all the action? Do you want to be within walking distance to public transportation or need ample parking options? Will you want to share the expenses and experiences with a roommate or plan to live alone? Will you need extra space for remote work options or to host guests? Knowing what will work for your life will help clear the options that don’t fit your lifestyle and shine a light on what does.
- Building options: Not all buildings are the same. The type of building you choose can play a major factor in your home happiness. Keep in mind that different building styles have different management styles, as well. Condos usually include a homeowners association (HOA) that owners pay into to oversee the building and facilities. Apartments might have a property manager, a realty company, or a landlord if the building is privately owned.
- Multi-dwelling units (MDUs) include many separate housing units contained in one structure—think apartments, condos, or dorms. Most condos and apartment buildings fall under MDUs, whether they are duplex (two units in one building), courtyard buildings (many units wrapped around a common green space), or townhouses (where at least one wall is shared between units).
- Residential communities indicate that the area is mostly comprised of residents, not commercial businesses or mixed-use buildings. Proximity to public transportation options and shopping and nightlife districts should be considered since residential areas are typically for quieter living.
- High-rise buildings have 12 or more stories, multiple elevators, and typically offer parking options and lifestyle perks, such as in-building gyms, laundry, and entertainment options. Mid-rise buildings are five to eleven stories tall and may have a mix of in-building perks for residents. Low-rise apartments are two to four stories and can be walk-up, meaning there are no elevators.
- Security, Convenience, Connectivity: Being new to a city or area can already make us feel vulnerable, which is why knowing the security measures a building uses can go a long way to feeling safe and comfortable at home. A building that utilizes intuitive technology, such as a LiftMaster Smart Video Intercom with myQ® Community app, provides a safe and reliable, cloud-based solution to susceptible security issues, like unauthorized visitors or even porch pirates out to steal your packages.
- Residents can visually confirm any visitors and control who is allowed into their building with the security and cloud-based access of myQ technology, directly through the myQ Community app.
- Misplaced your own way of getting in? No need to worry about forgetting your keys—residents can unlock any authorized entrance from your smartphone at any time through the myQ Community app. So you’ve got options and access when you need it.
Making it yours
You’ve found your dream apartment, now what? First, be an ideal candidate both on paper and in person. Have all your required paperwork in order—application, pay stubs, promissory note of employment, referrals, credit check information, and if necessary, a co-signer for the lease. Competition for good apartments can be fierce. Showing that you are organized and diligent could put you ahead of the pack of potential renters.
Despite all the research and work that goes into finding the perfect place to call home, nothing feels better than the moment when you can call it yours. Once the myQ Community app is downloaded to your phone, your personal access codes are automatically programmed in, and you have one more layer of security on your side. A dependable security system is like an extra layer of protection and gives anyone just starting out one less thing to worry about. Good luck, new grads!