Renting an apartment or townhome and living on your own is exciting.
If you’re a student, it’s great being able to spread your wings and have a sweet pad to call your own. And if you’re a new professional, it’s time to move into a new place and prepare for an exciting career!
Either way, finding your next apartment should be a pleasant experience. Even if you’re an apartment newbie, don’t worry, we’ll show you the ropes.
There’s no doubt a lot of apartments to check out, and you may find yourself having a hard time picking the right one.
Sometimes there is more than one apartment that may work. We’re going to show you how to pick the best one for you.
With the proper tools and a plan in place, finding your next apartment will be a cinch. Allow us to “give you a tour” of how to find the perfect apartment!
1. Know How to Search for an Apartment Online
There are endless ways to find an apartment online.
Apartments.com, Zillow, and Trulia are a few websites you can search for your new home.
Looking for an apartment online in the comfort of your own home is super convenient.
Plus, the beauty of researching a new place to live online is that you’re able to get most of the information you need. Apartment hunting websites let you specify the location, utilities you want, and more.
Most apartment complexes also have a company website that shows off their beautiful apartment homes. Check out the amenities and view pictures of the layouts and complex.
In some cases, you may not need to tour an apartment unless you’re really interested. Many times researching where to live online can cut your search time in half.
There’s no doubt that the best place to look for an apartment is online.
While searching for an apartment on the web, keep these things in mind:
- Does the website tell you what you need to know?
- How much do the apartments cost?
- When is an apartment available?
- Does the application process include an application fee and a credit check?
- Is the lease a monthly or yearly lease?
2. Think About What You’re Willing to Pay
Budget plays a big part in deciding where to live.
If you have a certain price range in mind, it’s best to find out how much rent is at various complexes.
Call ahead and find out which apartments are available and what their price range is. If you can’t afford the rent, then it won’t make sense to tour the apartment.
Consider Lifestyle Costs
Even if you can afford the rent elsewhere, the amenities might be awful and the commute far. If so, you should weigh your options.
It may be worth it to fork out extra money for rent. Especially if you’re already going to be spending money on some of the following:
- Gym membership
- Laundry at the laundromat
- Gas for a longer commute from a cheaper complex
Come up with the highest amount of rent you’d be willing to pay. And, do the math. The less expensive apartment combined with other expenses can quickly add up!
If an expensive and less expensive apartment even out in cost, then it’s a no brainer where to live!
Don’t say no to every expensive apartment; first tour a few before making a definitive decision.
Again, a more expensive apartment may be worth it. The location, amenities, and extra features can be the deciding factors.
3. Look One to Two Months Prior to Moving In
For many apartment complexes, it works best to look for an apartment one or two months before you move.
You can look three months earlier, but what’s available now won’t be the same as what’s available a month from now.
Searching for and touring complexes in the 1–2 month sweet spot will help you secure an apartment that’s coming available.
If you find an apartment you can’t live without but don’t have the money for a security deposit yet, there’s a solution. Ask if there’s an option for you to “hold” the apartment.
A holding deposit takes an apartment off the market. You can submit a holding deposit before the apartment runs your credit.
You may prefer to submit a holding deposit because you don’t want the apartment to get away. And at the same time, you may prefer paying a holding deposit if you aren’t ready to pay a security deposit.
Holding it gives you time to reserve the apartment but still change your mind. Keep in mind that if you change your mind, you won’t get the holding deposit back.
If you decide to move in, find out whether the holding deposit goes towards the security deposit. Don’t sign anything until you get further clarification.
4. Ask for Recommendations
Whether you are new to the area or not, looking for an apartment referral is an excellent step to take.
There are several different avenues you can try that will help you find an apartment.
If you go to school, stop by the student center to see if anyone recommends an apartment complex in the area. They may know of a few local apartments that everyone prefers.
Referral service lists
Many schools also have referral service lists online and in person.
Check your university’s website to see if any of the referral listings are of apartments near the school. A complex may be advertising upcoming apartments that are available to rent.
Professors and student aides
Are you graduating soon but plan to stay in the area? Ask your professors and student aides what apartment complexes they like.
A professor might live on campus in a faculty apartment, but they still know about the neighborhood. Get some feedback to see what they think about surrounding apartment homes.
Classmates and Coworkers
Don’t forget to ask your peers! They could be living in an apartment they love and recommend. Or, they might know of a few complexes that have a good reputation in the area.
Ask around, and the research will be all ready for you!
5. Narrow Down Your Search
We get that it’s hard to decide where to live if you’re in love with two complexes!
There are a few things you can mull over that should help.
Besides knowing how much you’re willing to spend, we recommend making a checklist of what you want your apartment to have.
For example, ask yourself if the apartment has the following amenities:
- Washers and dryers
- Swimming pool
- Private balconies
- Smart TVs included
- Fitness center
- 24/7 study areas
- Pet-friendly policies
There might be an amenity you can’t live without. If one of the apartments doesn’t have it, that can help you make a final decision.
Take time to consider these as well:
- Commute to school
- Commute to work
- Grocery stores and restaurants
- Public transit
- Nearby parks for a pet
Even if a few places tick all the right boxes, why don’t you check over your list again to gain full clarity before making a final decision?
If you still can’t decide, consult with a close friend or family member. Ask them to help you figure out where to live.
Looking for an apartment is going to be a blast, even if it does take some extra work.
That’s okay, though, because if you put in the extra effort, you’ll no doubt end up with a fantastic new apartment!
When you work hard and find the perfect place to live, you’ll love your new digs.
There’s no doubt your killer research skills and willingness to prepare ahead of time will pay off big time.
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management and works closely with Wildwood to help them with their marketing efforts. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry.