How to Stay Organized During Your Apartment Search

Let’s face it: Apartment hunting is stressful! From finding listings that match your criteria and making appointments for viewings to taking tours and choosing the best fit, there are a lot of details to keep track of.

How to Stay Organized During Your Apartment Search

Luckily, your friends at Apartment Guide are here to help. Here’s how to stay organized during your hunt for a new home:

Take Lots of Notes

Did the one bedroom on First Avenue have laundry in the unit, or was that the studio downtown? If you see numerous rentals during your apartment search, the details about one apartment start to become muddled with the amenities of the next.

Take copious notes while you tour apartments so you can keep the rental properties straight in your mind. Label the top of each set of notes with the address of the apartment and the name of the complex, when applicable. You might feel like you’re back in school, but taking notes now can spare yourself a lot of confusion later.

Create a Detailed Online Calendar

Rather than relying on a system of Post-It notes that could be destroyed by a strong breeze or overzealous housekeeper, put your faith in an online tracking system. Let your Google Calendar (or similar) be your best friend during an apartment search.

Make a calendar event for each open house, private rental viewing and rental application deadline. Also create a calendar alert for when each unit is becoming available. Update the calendar with the notes you take at a rental viewing so you can track the highlights or downsides of each apartment in one place. If you’re online calendar has an app, download it to that you can update it at any time to ensure that everything is up to date.

Have a Filing System

Even though most of your apartment search appointments can be stored in an online calendar, you may still walk away with some paperwork after a viewing. Rental applications, credit check forms and apartment complex brochures all need to be kept in one place.

Create a filing system using a filing cabinet or folders placed in a designated drawer. Put all paperwork for each property into a separate file. Always remember to organize your paperwork as soon as you get home from viewing an apartment that is going on your short list.

Take Pictures

Creating a mental picture of a rental is great, but even with detailed notes you may forget how big the closet really was in a particular apartment. Ask the property manager if you can take a few snapshots with your camera.

Even just a few shots of the living space and bedroom will help jog your memory when you try to remember important details about the layout. Label all pictures appropriately as soon as possible so you remember which apartment listing they belong to.

Start Eliminating Apartments Early

Keeping a long list of possible apartment rentals will only complicate matters, so it’s best to start eliminating apartments early on in your search process. Rather than maintaining a list of every unit you see, set aside or throw away the rental applications or photos of units that you already know you’re not interested in.

Work toward creating and maintaining a short list of possible new homes. As you add a new apartment to this list, make yourself eliminate one to prevent the list from getting out of hand. Remembering the details of just a few units allows you to remain organized and not become overwhelmed with information.

Searching for a new home involves a lot of planning and plenty of paperwork. To ensure that you don’t miss out on a great property due to a lost application or a missed deadline, learning how to stay organized is absolutely vital. The best units in your city will have you competing with other renters, and staying organized is your secret weapon for getting the best apartment on the block.

How do you stay organized during an apartment search? Tell us about it on Twitter!

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How to Stay Organized During Your Apartment Search

Photo Credit: Chung Ho Leung

Mid-year Rent Check: What’s the Going Rate for Apartment Rentals in Metros Nationwide?

It’s the middle of the year: do you know who’s paying more in rent, right now?

Here at Apartment Guide, we thought we’d take a look at our data about apartment rentals and determine just that.

Using information provided by the apartment communities which advertise with us, in July 2014, Apartment Guide calculated the median price for an entry-level apartment unit in about 250 metros areas (CBSAs) nationwide.

Check the interactive map above for the results.

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10 Cool Apartment Amenities You’re Missing Out On

When you were hunting for an apartment, you probably zoned in on just a few must haves – an affordable price in a convenient location that allows pets. You’re not hard to please, right?

Depending on your specific community, there could be a whole world of cool amenities and features right outside your front door that you’re missing out on. And guess what? You’re paying for these amenities every month!

unique apartment amenities

Take my advice: don’t fall into the trap of not taking advantage of what’s available to you. I’ll admit that I’m totally guilty of this myself. I lived in a community in Duluth, GA that had not one but two swimming pools, a workout facility, tennis court, soccer field and a car wash all on-site. Did I ever partake in these convenient amenities? I used the pool and the car wash once over a four year period.

If you like the convenience of having everything you need at your fingertips, then an apartment with lots of amenities is right up your alley. Not only will you be able to have a good time without going far, but partaking in what your community offers is the best opportunity to meet your neighbors. So get out there, mix and mingle!

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10 Post-Move Mistakes Renters Make

Renting an apartment is a great way to save money, especially if your living arrangements are not permanent. Many people stress the importance of finding a good landlord, but you often don’t realize until you move in that it’s just as important to be a responsible tenant.

So once you’ve found the perfect apartment, completed your walkthrough and moved those boxes, how do you make sure that you’re getting the best renting experience? You can start by avoiding these common mistakes.

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Top Cities for College Grads

Click the image to view the full infographic!

Click the image to view the full infographic!

For college seniors, the spring season means looking forward to graduation – and life beyond the college campus.

To help college graduates as they look both for work and a new place to live, Apartment Guide consulted with Indeed, the number one job site worldwide, to bring together information to match the perfect apartment with the right job.

Together, Indeed and Apartment Guide have researched the top cities with the most entry-level job openings, along with average rents for one and two bedroom apartments in these cities.

Here’s the list.

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How Long ‘Til These Planets Become the Next Rental Hot Spots?

Click the image to view the full infographic!

Click the image to view the full infographic!

In the future, the hottest rentals in the coolest neighborhoods may be found a little further out than you’re accustomed to looking.

We’re imagining a time when Earth will no longer be such an exclusive place to live. It may be a while, of course, until that becomes a reality, but we like to think that the dream of interplanetary life is possible.

What would that look like? How would you choose where to live?

Each planet in our solar system just might offer its own perks and special neighborhoods. People with shared interests might come together to share new worlds.

Join us as we here at Apartment Guide boldly predict the future: apartment living off-planet!

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How to Remember to Pay the Rent on Time

How NOT to Forget to Pay Your Rent

Remember… remember… remember the rent! We offer tips to help you jog your own memory and keep up with your primary first-of-the-month responsibility!

The first of the month means it’s time, once again, to pay the rent.

While there’s a powerful incentive to remember — and some fairly painful consequences if you forget – you can set yourself up for success with a few suggestions.

When you forget…
The rent is generally due the first day of the month, for most renters – and the typical landlord holds hard and fast to that requirement. If you’re late, then extra fees and a certified or cashier’s check, which carries yet another fee, just might be in your future.

Luckily, there are ways to help yourself remember to pay the rent on time.

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Upgrading to a 2BR Apartment? Here’s Where It’ll Cost You the Most

Considering a move to a larger apartment? Wondering if you can afford a second bedroom?

We wondered the same thing and decided to look at our data to see what metro areas had the biggest percentage rent increase from one bedroom to two bedrooms.

For March 2014 in metros with at least 50 apartment listings, we looked at the lowest-price one bedroom and two bedroom apartment units to determine the average percentage increase between the two inside the same community. We included only apartment listings for which there were both one and two bedroom offerings located on the same property.

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The State of Renting: ‘Realty’ Check 2014

If your instinct is that the rent is, well, “too damn high,” check out some possible reasons why!

By Steve Harper and Elizabeth Beasley, Apartment Guide contributor

Renting — while never really out of style — is trendy again!

The National Association of Home Builders predicts that a preference for renting among young people is driving the building of many more new apartment buildings in the next couple of years. The state of the housing market, among other factors, seems to be leading more people to choose renting in the near future.

Are you ready for a reality check on the state of renting?

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