For the uninitiated, apartment-hunting can be a daunting and stressful process. Don’t despair. Doing your homework and getting your ducks in a row may not eliminate your stress altogether, but will certainly help to minimize it and ensure you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Follow these tips to keep your apartment search on track:
- Figure out the amount of money you can afford for rent as well as utilities
- Decide how much space you really need
- Prioritize your apartment amenities
- Narrow your search to a favorite neighborhood or two taking into account travel distances and your commute
- Be prepared to fill out application paperwork, plunk down a deposit, or sign a lease at the showing:
- Bring info you need to fill out standard a rental application (such as employer contact info, present and past landlords, etc.), plus your checkbook
- Also, consider printing out a copy of your credit report which many landlords will insist on running anyway
- Bring your tape measure to ensure your furniture will fit
- Ask the landlord or showing agent the right questions:
- What are the lease terms?
- When does the least begin and end?
- Are there any move-in fees? For example, do they require first and last month’s rent? Is there a security deposit?
- What’s your pet policy?
- What’s included in the rent and what isn’t?
- How are emergency repairs taken care of?
- How often does rent go up? And by how much?
- What is the parking situation?
- For extra assistance, here’s an apartment checklist from ForRent.com.
If you’re just beginning your search, leverage your personal network. Let your friends, coworkers and family members know you’re searching for an apartment. They may know someone who knows someone, which could be just the ticket to finding a great place, especially in a competitive renters market.
Don’t underestimate the power of preparation, and stay calm. You got this!