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With May upon us, the class of 2012 is about to break into the real world. With diploma in hand, newly degreed young professionals begin the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed hunt for the elusive first job and first apartment. Rent.com is aiming to help remove the mystery from renting your first place, and sets new post-grads on the road to successful living with the following tips.

Relocation Elation

Graduation is the chance to choose your path and follow your dreams— to whatever city you fancy. Some cities might be more ideal for post-grads than others—factors to consider are cost of living, unemployment rate, and average income. It’s important to remember that you will need to save money for a deposit on your first apartment.

From Dorm to Doorman

The freedom of your own apartment will be exhilarating, but with your own place comes a lot more responsibility than living in the dorms. New apartment dwellers will need to remember to add monthly expenses like food, water, electricity, and heat into their budget. Your new apartment also won’t come furnished—a frugal solution for your first move is to talk to your parents and relatives to see if anyone has old couches or tables that they no longer need. With careful planning and budgeting, your new place will be a comfortable and grown-up place to live.

Top 10 Cities for Post-Grads

Rent.com researched cities across the country and has compiled a list highlighting 10 great cities for the post-grad set based on unemployment rates, mean annual income, cost of living, and rental inventory (in no particular order):

• Boston, Mass. – A low unemployment rate and high mean income attracts career-minded young professionals. The character of a college town makes for a smooth transition, in which nightlife options abound.

• Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.– The Twin Cities truly combine natural beauty with the benefits of an urban center. With an unemployment rate well below the national average, finding a job shouldn’t be a stressful task in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

• Seattle, Wash. – The perfect city for a new class of intellectuals, Seattle offers a well-educated workforce as well as plenty of outdoor adventure and foodie cuisine.

• Houston, TX – Houston is known for cost-competitive housing and a favorable cost of living. Add to that a diverse mix of jobs and commuter-friendly transportation, and Houston has a lot to offer for new grads.

• Baltimore, Md. – The Charm City is a friendly place to live and play, with a diverse cultural scene and more than 200 unique neighborhoods to call home.

• Dallas, TX – With the hospitality of Texas and the modernity of a sophisticated city, Dallas offers all of the benefits of big city living without the big city price tag – the cost of living is well below the national average.

• Kansas City, Mo. – Healthy living and an eco-friendly lifestyle are just one part of the booming downtown of Kansas City. It’s also known for barbecue and jazz – so very grown up chic, right?

• Raleigh, N.C. – People of all ages move to Raleigh for affordable housing and temperate weather. With an economy based on three local universities, post-grads looking for jobs in industries like biotech or computers will thrive in these North Carolina cities.

• Washington, DC – A favorably low unemployment rate and high mean annual income make Washington, DC a smart choice for new young professionals. The federal city also offers entertainment for everyone, from nightlife and world-class dining to cultural institutions.

• Austin, TX – A quickly growing city, Austin boasts a low cost of living and neighborhoods with character ranging from funky to serene. A thriving music scene will inspire recent grads to partake in the arts.

Finding Your Post-Grad Pad

After graduation, young professionals can visit Rent.com, which makes apartment-hunting as quick and easy as possible, according to the company. In addition to helping to find the perfect home, Rent.com rewards renters with a $100 prepaid Visa® debit card if they locate a home on Rent.com, tell their new landlord they found their apartment on Rent.com, and report to Rent.com that they signed a lease with a property that participates in the $100 Reward Program.

For more information, visit Rent.com.

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