1. SET REALISTIC GOALS AND EXPECTATIONS
It does take some effort to find the perfect apartment. Don’t expect to find the right place for you during your first search. This way, you will be less likely to be disappointed if you don’t find an apartment right away. Just take things in stride, and know that you will reach your goal in due time.
2. CONSIDER THE LOCATION
If being near friends and family is important to you, be sure to consider that in your apartment search. How is the commute to work, schools, or the nearest grocery store? Is it close to public transportation? Learning what’s nearby and what’s easy to get to is truly essential when choosing an apartment. Additionally, you should consider the neighborhood and its reputation. Drive by on several occasions, both night and day, to get a true perspective. Is it in a safe area?
3. SEPARATE THE HAVES FROM THE HAVE NOTS
When searching for an apartment, it’s important that you have a clear picture in mind of what it is you’re seeking. Try putting together a list of your needs and desires. What do you absolutely have to have, and what would be nice to have? Use the Internet as much as you can to do your research before visiting different properties to help save yourself some time and learn which ones fit your criteria.
Consider the following:
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
- How much closet space do you need?
- How important is location?
- Are any features — such as an updated kitchen, or built-in shelves — important?
- How is the parking, for both you and your visitors?
- What amenities do you desire?
- Do you need a place that allows pets?
- Do you need a lot of storage?
4. DETERMINE WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD
Once you know what you’re after in an apartment, take into consideration what you can afford. Being prepared ahead of time will help steer you in the right direction and help prevent the disappointment of finding the perfect apartment that you just can’t financially manage. Typically, you’ll want to figure a maximum cost of no more than one-third of your monthly income.
5. GOT ROOMMATES?
The two or three of you should come up with a plan of action. Aside from taking into consideration what each person desires and can afford, each can be responsible for helping out in the apartment search. Divvy up tasks, depending on schedules. Maybe someone can preview a handful of listings while the other checks out some others.
6. VISIT THE PROPERTIES
Once your initial research is complete and you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of properties, it’s time to go visit each space. When you arrive, go first to the manager’s office or the leasing office, and let them know that you’re interested in seeing an apartment. Be specific about the size you need, and don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way, such as:
- How much is the rent?
- Will you have to pay a deposit or additional rent to lease?
- Do they allow pets and, if so, how much is the pet deposit or pet rent?
- Are utilities included?
- What are the amenities and hours of operation?
As you make your way to the model apartment, be sure to look for things on the exterior, such as broken windows, trash, loud music, yelling tenants, sagging doors, broken sidewalks or lights. These are telltale signs of an unkempt, poorly managed apartment complex. Mark properties off your list if you notice two or more of these items.
Once you’re on the inside, take note of the layout and design, and determine if it will fit your needs and desires. Look at the ceiling for cracks and water stains. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and look for signs of bugs or rodents. Open closets and use your nose. If there’s a funny smell inside, it’s likely there will be one in your unit as well.
7. STAY ORGANIZED
Once you’ve started researching more than a few apartments, it’s easy to get them confused. Stay organized by taking notes. For example, consider tracking the following:
- an apartment’s location
- the broker, owner, or tenant and their contact information
- the number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- the pros and cons
- any promises that were made or deals that were offered
- additional notes
Keep a folder, notebook or file handy to house any brochures, floor plans, pictures or other printed materials.
8. LET US HELP
T &C Property Management can assist you with your apartment search. Be sure to check back often for available listings. Call 505-268-1181 when you’re ready to set up an appointment.