you had mentioned you probably would need a roommate to do this. the only advice i'd give is even if you can get something you can afford on your own or as close to as possible. that way you won't HAVE to count on the roommate'* money to make the payments. i did that with my first place and when i got left on my own it was so tight it wasn't funny but it let me hold on until i found someone i WANTED to share a place with, not someone i HAD to cause i needed the money.
that way you can use the roomies money to give you some breathing space on the bills, maybe fix it up a bit whatever. and you have the advantage of not being held hostage by the roommate if they figure you can't survive without them and their check every month.
so good luck and good hunting!