Living in an apartment since my 2nd year of college, I have learned all the important details about housing in United States. To find an apartment and move in requires a certain process.
STEP #1 apply for an apartment and sign a lease contract
Lease contract is an agreement between you and apartment owner, where you have to provide all your information and sign in. First of all, they will want your current passport with visa. Also, you need to provide some finance statement that you will be able to pay the rent each month. You can either get a financial statement from your bank, or your I-20 will work as well.
Usually, lease contract is standing for 6 and 12 month. It means you have to stay and pay for your apartment for 6 or 12 month. There is no way to cancel or decline the leasing contract.So be sure you are going to stay for the whole period of time.
Moreover, before move-in the leasing office want to collect deposit. Deposit means that you pay some amount money to the leasing office in case some of the property will be damaged. If not, you will get your money back at the end of the contract. All apartments have a different deposit amount, but its about $700-1000$ in average.
STEP #2 utilities and other expenses
Besides paying the rent each month, you also need to pay your utility. It includes internet, water and electricity bills. Usually, for your utilities you can pay online,or write a check. The amount of utilities depends on how much you have been using water, or electricity. For instance, I pay like $150 per month for water, electricity and Wi-Fi internet. Here is an example of paying bills for water online :
As you can see, everything you need is your bank card information and your address. And your log-in name and password of course ).
To summarize, here is a sample monthly budget for me living in an apartment:
rent: $ 470 (this is my part of rent that I share with 2 people)
electricity: $ 60
water: $ 50
phone: $ 30
I hope this post was helpful for you, and if you have any questions please let me know and text me.