Rachel Cooper
fast apartment search

Need to move in a hurry?

Don’t stress – it's possible to find an apartment quickly.

To start, set aside ample time to do research and determine exactly what you want and what you need to be comfortable in your new home. Follow these tips and you will save time and energy.

Set your budget

Calculate your monthly expenses and determine how much rent you can afford. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but the general recommendation is to spend about 25 to 35 percent of your gross monthly income on rent.

When setting your budget, consider the cost of moving, parking, commuting and other cost-of-living expenses.

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Choose a few potential neighborhoods

To find an apartment quickly, you’ve got to spend at least a little time researching neighborhoods. As the location should meet your lifestyle needs, be sure to also look at the proximity to your workplace, transportation options and safety concerns.

Check out neighborhoods that have a high density of rental properties such as high-rise buildings and large apartment complexes as they tend to have more vacancies than smaller properties and may be your best bet for a quick move-in date.

Use the satellite and street view features on Google Maps to explore possible neighborhoods online and to get a sense of the location and surrounding area.

Make a list of desired apartment features

Prioritize apartment features and decide which factors are most important to you. Consider space requirements, amenities (swimming pool, fitness center, handicap accessibility, laundry facilities, etc.), parking, proximity to shopping, restaurants, entertainment venues and public transportation.

Create a list of must-have features and some that you may be more flexible about.

Search for apartments

ApartmentGuide.com is a premier rental resource that will save you time and help you find a new place to live. Use the desktop version or download the mobile app. Select the location, the number of bedrooms and the price range.

Narrow your search and define your required features by clicking on “More options”. When you get a list of search results, review the apartments and click on the heart-shaped icon in the right corner of the listing to bookmark those that interest you.

Click on “My Places” in the top right corner of the search result pages and you will see a list of all your favorites.

Make phone calls

If you need to find an apartment quickly, skip the online “Check Availability” function and call the apartment leasing offices directly. As rental availability is constantly changing, you’ll save time and get the most up-to-date information by speaking with the landlords or property managers on the phone.

To get the best results, call the leasing offices on a week-day during business hours. Ask lots of questions, tell the agent that you need to move in immediately and schedule your visits as soon as you can.

Tour apartments

See as many apartments in-person as time allows and be flexible. Take photos, notes and measurements of rooms. Ask a lot of questions and take the time to explore the neighborhood.

While there may be limitations on the number of move-in ready apartments, keep in mind that most leases are for one year, so you’re making a limited commitment. Trust your gut instinct and choose the apartment that feels most suitable for you.

Have your paperwork in order

To save time, bring your checkbook and be prepared to sign a lease and pay the security deposit. Have your paperwork with you when you tour the apartment. For most landlords, you’ll need a copy of your photo ID, one to two years of tax returns and W-2s, bank statements and a letter of employment on company letterhead that states your salary, title and how long you’ve been employed. Be sure to read the lease and agree to the terms.

As your moving date approaches, get ready for the hard part – moving your stuff.

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About The Author

Rachel Cooper is a freelance writer and author with more than a decade of online journalism and content creation experience. She has written for About.com, Washingtonian, Federal City Council, Montgomery Parks, Destination Maryland, Conde Nast Traveler, Payscale, Valpak, Grandparents.com, Washington Parent and more. Her books include Quiet Water: Mid-Atlantic, AMC’s Canoe and Kayak Guide to the Best Ponds, Lakes and Easy Rivers; 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Washington, D.C. and Images of Rail: Union Station in Washington, D.C.

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