Find the perfect apartment by following our 7 key points. Whether you’re relocating to a new city, living on your own for the first time, or just ready for a change of pace, the whole search process can be broken down into a manageable journey. We’ve highlighted the most important details below.
Location, location, location
A crucial starting point for finding the right apartment is making sure the location is right for you.
Consider the location’s proximity to your job, loved ones, or school. Is access to public transportation important to you? How is the walkability of the neighborhood?
When you have a neighborhood-to-be in mind, use your GPS and explore the area. See how close you are to the center of town, retail shops, the highway, etc.
Get a feeling for your commute by utilizing apps like GoogleMaps or Waze to plan a drive at a specific time. For example, enter a planned drive for 6 p.m. on Thursday to see what the usual traffic is like in that area.
Layouts may vary from unit to unit in the same building. There may be multiple apartment styles with the same square footage to choose from. Consider your own personal needs such as the need for a home workspace or entertaining guests- or do you just prefer a large bedroom? Take your lifestyle into account, and what you need out of your space before settling on a layout.
Amenities add value to a property. Potential amenities include laundry options, parking, storage, outdoor spaces, fitness centers, or gym memberships. Gain perspective by comparing and contrasting other properties in the neighborhood. If your ideal apartment costs more, do the amenities make it worthwhile?
Find out what expenses you could be responsible for beyond rent. Find out about building costs like water/trash/maintenance, utilities, internet and cable services, and pet fees if applicable.
Before you commit and sign the lease, ask yourself if the place is realistically affordable for you. Do you have enough saved to cover rent if your employment status changes? Who is responsible for appliance maintenance? Consider how your living expenses will stack up with the preexisting expenses in your budget before you make the final decision.
Rentals have a quick turnaround. So if you’re serious about your apartment search, and not just browsing, be prepared to move with a sense of urgency. Move like you’re on a mission so you’re not left behind.
Once you have a copy of the lease, read it thoroughly. Make sure you fully understand the contract before signing anything. The contract should list the lease term, monthly payment, included amenities, additional fees, and/or previous damages. If it hasn’t already been mentioned, we recommend finding out how much it would cost to break the lease, and if subletting is permitted.