It can take months to find your dream apartment. So, it’s best to determine what you’re looking for before scheduling tours. Do you want a balcony? Does it matter that your neighborhood is walkable? How much square footage do you need to fit all of your belongings? These are just a couple of questions you should ask yourself during the apartment hunting process. Though we tend to focus on how we want our next living space to feel and look, it’s equally essential to know what we don’t want. Asking questions and noting what you loved and hated about your old place is a great start to figuring out your non-negotiables.
Keep in mind that when searching for your next home, there are other factors beyond style, neighborhood, and size that a tour might not cover. You’ll want to get the inside scoop on what it’s actually like to live there from current or previous residents. Likewise, if there are any red flags, like slow or shady application processing, you should weed those out. It’s crushing to fall in love with a unit and learn that many applicants get denied even when they meet the requirements. Or that the walls are so thin you can hear your upstairs neighbors brushing their teeth.
Honestly, there’s no way around it. Locating the one is tedious and time-consuming, but, with the right approach, you can find the perfect place to call home. Here are six apartment hunting tips to help you narrow down your list.
1. Set a budget.
With the cost of living rising steadily, you should calculate how much rent you can comfortably afford. Remember to account for your other monthly expenses like utilities, groceries, transportation, and miscellaneous spending. Stick within your budget to avoid financial strain.
2. Determine your needs, wants, and red flags.
As stressed earlier, make a list of your must-have features and amenities, such as number of bedrooms, location, parking, in-unit washer and dryer, gym, and pool. Then, create another list of things you would like in your new home but aren’t dealbreakers. Finally, write down any red flags that would make you withdraw interest. This will help you focus your search on properties that meet your essential criteria or, in other words, keep you from wasting your time.
3. Visit the website.
Once you’ve determined your budget and what you want, it’s time to start scouring the internet or driving around the city and writing down the names of apartments you pass.
Whichever strategy you use, you need to visit the website for each of your prospects. Take a look at the floor plans, especially the virtual tours and prices. From there, check out the amenities, available units, neighborhood highlights, and application requirements.
4. Research the neighborhood.
If you like what you’ve found but aren’t familiar with the neighborhood, research it and decide if it aligns with your lifestyle and preferences. Consider the area’s safety, proximity to your job or school, grocery stores, restaurants and bars, parks and outdoor spaces, traffic and public transportation, and overall vibe.
5. Check reviews.
Don’t stop at Apartments.com. Sometimes properties have great reviews on these kinds of sites, but two stars on Google and other search engines. Read the best and worst reviews for a well-rounded look at the living experience. Research the management company or landlord, too. This can provide insights into their responsiveness, reliability, and overall reputation.
6. Hire an apartment locator.
What do you do when you take this approach and still can’t find a place worth touring? Hire an apartment locator. These agents know every property in town and will send you options based on your budget and preferences. The cost of hiring a locator depends on the company, but there are some that don’t take a fee. Instead, they collect their pay through referring you and ask that you list them in that section of your application.
You might not find the winning property right away, but following these tips will make you feel confident you’ve made the right decision when signing the lease on your next rental.
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by Arielle Clay | January 19, 2023
Whether it’s luxury or ease, every area of your home should be as fabulous and unique as you.
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