Reduce the Stress of Apartment Hunting with Preparation
Moving is considered one of the most stressful experiences. Apartment hunting, if unprepared, can cause anxiety. Prepare and don't procrastinate, and your apartment hunt can be fun and exciting; you’re headed toward a fresh start in a new home. So, how can you eliminate the stress? Nail down these answers BEFORE you start searching.
What area of town do you want to live in?
This will require a bit of research. Is there an area close to your work that you're interested in? Are you looking for a part of town with better schools? These are important questions to ask yourself before moving. You need to know what your needs and wants are in a neighborhood. For example, if you are looking to take public transportation to work, you need to be in an area near the bus line.
What is your price point?
Your price point should include a couple of things:
- What you can afford: rent should not exceed around 30% of your paycheck
- What the market demands for apartments
If the price of an apartment in your favorite location would take up 50% of your take home pay, than you need to pick a different neighborhood.
What size home are you looking for?
Is it just you, or do you have a family? Might you want a roommate, either now or later? These factors all play a role in what size home you need and want. Is there any flexibility here? This depends on your priorities. If you want a one bedroom, but you can only afford a studio apartment in your ideal location; will that work for you? Or do you need to find another neighborhood, where you can afford a larger apartment?
Hot tip: If you’re looking for extra space for your home business, make sure you choose a community that allows this. Some leases state that you may not operate a business within your apartment.
Are there specific amenities you want?
Are you an avid fitness buff? You may want a community with a great fitness center and pool. If you’re downsizing, consider an apartment that allows you to rent additional storage space. The same goes for a garage if you live up north.
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Are you moving from out of state?
That does add more stress to the hunt, as you may be renting a home sight-unseen. There are a few ways to alleviate that anxiety, though. If you’re moving for work, see if there is someone that your company contracts with to help employees find new homes. Ask if you can stay in an extended stay hotel while you conduct your search in person, avoiding the dreaded “sight-unseen” scenario. You won't have your belongings until you move, but seeing the options yourself will provide you with great peace of mind for decision-making.
Once you can answer these questions, you have the blueprint for what you’re looking for. This will narrow down the choices quite a bit, saving you time, energy and anxiety.
When should you start the search?
Figure out what you want in an apartment, and begin hunting before you put in your notice with your landlord. Research and tour specific communities you’re interested in, and keep your eye out for vacancies in other places you like. That way, you can quickly scoop up that apartment without hesitation.
You might have to make a commitment quickly, or your dream home could be rented to someone else before you get back. Take a load off yourself by being well prepared, knowing what you can spend, and what you’re looking for, then you can pull the trigger when you know you’ve found the right place. Apartment hunting can either be stressful or fun. Follow these tips, and try to have fun with the process.
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