Are you thinking of moving to Philadelphia after graduation? There are many great reasons to move to Philadelphia after you graduate: it’s a big city but not overwhelming, great people, many career opportunities, and it’s a city with real history and character.

6 Moving Tips

Qualifying For A RentalFor rent sign

You’ll need to qualify for rental before doing anything. Most grads can’t do this on their own – and if you have roommates, then everyone must qualify. Even if you and your roommates have a guarantor (a financially qualified party) who will sign to guarantee the landlord or property management company gets paid on time, you’ll still need to qualify collectively.

What About Roommates?

Most grads won’t be able to afford a nice place on their own, having a roommate can be a good way to cover the cost of rent. Just remember that you’ll need to set expectations with each of your potential roommates early on as it’s a financial commitment as well as a living situation. Everyone needs to be on board so there are no unwelcome surprises.

Have lifestyle questions ready and know exactly how much your potential roommate is willing to spend on rent.

Beginning Your Apartment Search

When to begin? Begin at least a month and a half before you move, but it’s probably best to begin three months early as many apartments in Philadelphia have a three-month notice rule for lease renewal. Remember, you need to fill out your application and coordinate moving, so these logistical considerations need to be finished in time.

Searching online is a great option. Remember though that some apartments and condos may have a broker’s fee included (this can range from between 12-15 percent of a year’s rent). Word of mouth is also good – check on social media, message boards, and from friends and family.

Seeing the location is best, so, even if you don’t have a place lined up, come for a visit – stay with a friend or at a hotel or Airbnb. Just make sure you have enough time when doing this as you probably won’t find something in just a couple of days.

Also, if you’re renting with a roommate, always come together. You may not like what your roommate likes and vice versa, so best to see your potential place for yourself.

Choosing Your New Neighborhood

You’ll want to familiarize yourself with Philadelphia before moving so you have an idea of the feel of each neighborhood.

Some factors you should consider when reviewing your neighborhood options include:

  • Location from your place of employment
  • Location from your place to your grad school
  • Access to public transportation
  • Access to grocery and drug stores
  • Crime, pests, and cleanliness
  • Parking access

Apartment Application Process

You should expect to provide a clear photocopy of your photo ID, recent pay stubs (at least two – or a letter of employment if you’re just starting), two years’ worth of tax returns, bank statements from the past few months, proof of other funds (savings, etc.), and letters of reference. You may not need everything, but it’s a good idea to have it all prepared just in case they require it. Also, be prepared to pay an application fee (it ranges between $50 and $200).

Of course, you will need cash up front, too. This is usually for first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. You’ll need this in the form of a cashier’s check from your bank as most landlords and property management companies do not accept personal checks.

Moving LogisticsTwo moving boxes

Once you’ve handled the lease and have a moving date then you’ll want to book some movers or rent a truck from a company like U-Haul. Make sure to do this well in advance so everything runs smoothly.

You will also have to coordinate with your building as most apartment and condos have strict policies on moving and using the elevators on service. Avoid scams by not going with any moving company that asks for the entire price up front. Most reputable moving companies will split the fee to ensure you’re satisfied with their service and get what you pay for. Hopefully, these simple tips will help your move to Philadelphia go smoothly and leave you to enjoy and explore the city.