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's a lot to keep track of.
Luckily, your friends at Apartment Guide are here to help. Here's how to stay organized during your hunt for a new home:
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 next.
Take copious notes while you tour apartments so you can keep them 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.
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 your notes from each viewing so you can track the highlights or downsides of each apartment in one place. If your online calendar has an app, download it so that you can update it at any time, especially as you notice things during the tour.
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. If you love digital storage, scanning or taking pictures of the paperwork is a must.
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. A bunch of unorganized pictures from several apartments causes the kind of problem you're trying to avoid.
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. You can't keep that much in your head all at once.
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.
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