First, do you desire and have the ability to rent an apartment on your own, or will you share with a roommate? How much monthly rent can you afford? To qualify for an apartment rental, you must show monthly income approximately three times the monthly rent. Is location important to you? If it is, start your search where you want to live…whether your preference is on the coast, golf course, near good schools or work. Do you have pets? Many communities welcome pets with a one-time pet deposit and a monthly pet premium added to your rent. Consider what amenities are important to you, such as a garage or covered parking, in-home washer and dryer or laundry facilities, refrigerator, electric or gas range and oven, and the availability of today’s technology with in-home alarm systems and high-speed Internet access. Unless you’re able to afford all the community amenities and apartment features that you desire, you’ll have to prioritize and determine which are most important and what you’re willing to live without.
Colleen Lambros is vice president of sales & marketing for The Irvine Company Apartment Communities, and manages the rental-living Apartment Information Center in Irvine. The center maintains a database of more than 80 rental communities throughout Northern and Southern California (including Santa Monica, Orange County, and San Diego).