How to Start Your Apartment Search
Getting started on finding a new place to live doesn’t have to be scary or a chore. With a bit of organization and pre-planning, your apartment search can go smoothly and result in a fabulous new place to live. Here are some tips to get you going in the right direction.
Determine the kind of apartment that will meet your needs.
It’s hard to start apartment hunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. One bedroom? Two? A community pool? A separate office? How much do you want to spend?
Before you start your search, you need to know what you want in an apartment in order to weed out places that aren’t going to fit. Answer these basic questions before you kick off your search:
- How much can you afford?
- How much do you want to spend?
- What area of town do you want to live?
- How many rooms do you want?
- What kinds of amenities do you want? Do you want access to a gym? A pool?
- Do you prefer a gated community?
- What features do you want inside the apartment? For example, a washer and dryer or dishwasher?
Once you have a basic outline of what your minimum requirements are, you can then start considering optional luxuries — more expensive kitchen appliances, a covered parking space, included utilities, etc.
Set some dates.
The amount of time you allow for finding your apartment will depend on how quickly you have to move or how much time you can devote to an apartment search. If you are under no time pressure, allow yourself one to two months to find an apartment. Mark your calendar with your intended move date and move backwards, making sure to leave enough lead time to pack, move and clean your old place.
If you’re looking at a lot of apartments in your apartment search, then you’ll need to keep track of what you like, what you don’t like and what has yet to be seen. The easiest way to keep your apartment search organized is by creating a folder. Print out apartment listings and take them with you when you go to see the apartment. Jot notes on the listings that will trigger your memory about them. In this notebook, also keep your list of “apartment wants,” noting which apartment has the features you desire, and a list of questions to ask apartment managers. In this folder you can also keep any flyers or paperwork apartment communities offer about floor plans, utilities, fees and other important facts that could influence your decision.
You are now ready to start an organized and well-planned apartment search. Armed with these tips, you’ll be signing the lease to your new apartment before you know it.