07/15/2011 11:40 am ET | Updated Sep 14, 2011

Welcome To The Real World: Finding Your First Apartment

his past Saturday I finally moved into my new apartment with my old best friend. We started out apartment hunt June 1st…looked at over 20 apartments, and finally found one we liked. It’s a work in progress.

Before June I knew nothing about looking for apartments, we had no idea what to expect the first time we saw one. It was pretty frightening. It didn’t help that we both grew up in the suburbs and had no idea what it was like to live, let alone rent an affordable apartment, in a city.

Needless to say I’ve learned a thing for two about hunting for apartments that I wish I had known about a month ago, like research neighborhoods before you drive to them and waste gas money.

So in order to help all of our readers I thought I would put together a few things I’ve learned along the way to help you all in search of your first (second, or third) place:

Oil vs Electric vs Gas Heat: Luckily this was one of the things my ex-boyfriend told me early on, “Make sure you get gas heat, it’s wicked cheap” however, I ended up finding an apartment with oil. But regardless, and for the most part (well depending on where you live), the price of heat goes like this: electric is the most expensive, oil is the second most expensive, and gas is the cheapest. Just something to keep in mind when looking at non-utility inclusive apartments.

Neighborhood: Just because it’s a wicked cute apartment, does not make up for the fact that someone was shot outside of it a week ago. Be smart about where you chose to live, and remember you’ll have to sleep there at night. It’s kind of funny, because almost all of these guidelines I’m giving you I did the opposite. We ended up moving to Brockton, which doesn’t have the best rep, that’s not to say we’re in the worst part of it (thankfully avoided that) but we’re also not in the best part either..more like on the fringe of both in no mans land.

Read more on College Candy: