September 7, 2020 at 12:02 pm · Justin Becker · Comments Off on 8 Tips for Finding an Apartment
How do you find your next apartment? If you are struggling with the answer to this question, you are not alone.
Finding a great apartment entails finding a property that fits your budget, has all of the amenities you want, and is conveniently located near public transportation, among other things. Before you rush out to find an apartment, keep in mind that the process can be lengthy and necessitate careful planning.
Tips for Finding an Apartment
You are reading this article because it is not always easy to find your dream apartment, which is why you need a game plan.
The truth is that there are many things to consider before making a final decision. In order to achieve the best outcome, it is important to be prepared for what could happen and have an idea of what you are looking for. Furthermore, it is important to be clear about how much you should spend in order for this process not to be as overwhelming.
Trust us, with a few apartment hunting tips and precautions before you start apartment hunting, your search can be made easier. Let’s check out some apartment hunting tips!
1. Always Begin By Setting Your Budget
Price is a deal-breaker for many people. It makes no difference whether the apartment has everything you need or not; it all boils down to your budget.
The key to locating a property that you can afford is to plan ahead of time and determine your budget before you begin exploring. You will want to look at a few different apartments to compare the most affordable ones that are within your budget.
That said, if you have looked at a number of apartments and none of them seem to fit your needs, think about this – is there a difference between what you want and what you need? Sometimes what seems like a good deal is realistically just too expensive.
If you are not sure how much you can pay, use the 30% rule, which states that your rent budget should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income. Furthermore, a rent calculator may be useful in determining the range of apartments in which you are eligible to live.
2. Consider Calling the Community Before Visiting
Calling the apartment building before seeing the units in-person is a good idea. A real estate salesperson is professionally trained to impress you with a variety of property qualities, yet all you hear on the phone is the price.
Calling first will help avoid clouding your judgment about what you can and can’t afford.
In addition, calling before visiting gives you room to compare the pricing with other local apartment complexes.
3. Always Consider the Time of the Year
What is the best month to look for an apartment? The time of year you choose to move will significantly impact your cost. For example, a lot of people are looking for rentals in the summer, so if you too are looking for an apartment during this time, there will naturally be more competition and higher prices.Furthermore, since many people are relocating during this time of year, the demand for logistics will increase, resulting in an increase in the cost of hiring trucks.
On the other hand, months like December are slower for apartment hunting because it is during the school year. This means there is less competition, and prices are typically lower. On top of that, the cost of moving trucks is lower, too.
4. Create a List of Non–Negotiables
Create a list of what you need for your next apartment. This will help you get a better idea of how much you should pay for an apartment. For example, you want to be clear about the number of bedrooms, preferred parking situation, an apartment’s natural light, and if it is pet-friendly. This will help narrow down your apartment hunt and increase your chances of finding your dream unit sooner rather than later. It is so much easier to find an apartment complex that suits you if you know exactly what you are looking for.
5. Consider the Neighborhood
Location is one of the most important factors when figuring out how to choose an apartment complex. The economic situation, demographic makeup, and access to services directly affect the cost and quality of life in any particular area.
For example, most cities often have higher rental prices compared to suburbs/neighborhoods. If you absolutely must live in the city, look for a roommate that you can split the cost with; or instead of living in a one or two bedroom apartment, consider renting a studio apartment, if feasible.
6. Use Web Features to Narrow Down Your Search
Most websites to search apartments for rent can assist you in narrowing down your search by using filters and comparing rental prices in various areas. Furthermore, you can easily find neighborhoods or apartment communities that are pet-friendly.
7. Tour the Properties In–Person
After calling ahead of time and conducting a virtual apartment tour, you should have a list of units to visit. Although virtual tours are a terrific place to start, they do not show you everything there is to know about an apartment, especially the surrounding areas.
As a result, set aside a day to visit the apartment and acquire a sense of its features, along with the community’s vibe. It is always advised to tour all the apartment buildings on the same day and decide as soon as possible; this way you only have to take one day off work and can knock everything out at once. Learn more about how long do apartment tours take here.
8. Talk to Your Prospective Neighbors
When you are touring an apartment, strike up a conversation with a few occupants to learn more about the neighborhood. This can help you gain a clearer picture of what life will be like in that community.
For instance, if they are dissatisfied and the majority of them complain, it is a red flag and you may want to consider another community. On the other hand, if most of the residents give positive feedback and praise the management’s customer service, that is a good sign.
Maintain a positive relationship with your previous landlord/past landlords. Your rental history is usually a requirement while looking for a new space to live in. A prospective property manager will most likely inquire about your previous leases to determine the type of tenant you are. Other requirements may include providing recent pay stubs, driver’s license, and co-signer information, if it’s your first apartment (preferably family members), so be sure to have all of this ready incase you find the perfect apartment for you.
Also, for your next place, think about getting renters insurance. This will protect you from disasters, such as fires and floods, among other things.
How to Save Money During Apartment Hunting
Moving to your first apartment can be an expensive affair, and often people want to hold onto every coin they have to save. According to Statista.com, as of February 2022, the average American spends $1,295.00 for a two bedroom apartment.
With that said, there are many ways to save a couple of bucks when you move – some obvious, others not so obvious. Let’s explore some of these methods:
Consider Finding a Roommate
The rental market is competitive, which means that many people will be looking for apartments. In addition, the upfront costs (security deposit, first month’s rent, pet deposit, etc.) of moving to a new apartment are always steep. That said, if you decide to rent with a roommate, it can help you save a lot of money.
You may not be able to afford the entire apartment, but if you split the cost with someone else, it can be more affordable. In addition, you will not only be able to save a couple of bucks, but you will also be able to take advantage of the luxuries of the apartment community.
It can be difficult to find a roommate during apartment hunting, so take the time to set ground rules, meaning the absolute minimum that your roommate should agree to. If you are both on the same page from jump, you and your roommate will be able to live in peace as a result of this arrangement.
Look for Rent Specials
Most new apartment complexes use special rent strategies to attract new tenants. With that said, while apartment hunting, check if there are any rental specials or discounts before signing the lease agreement. By looking for discounted rental prices, you can save a couple of bucks on your rent and avoid moving into a place where it feels like you are paying more than necessary.
Always Be Ready to Negotiate the Rental Price
During apartment hunting, property managers will most likely negotiate the rent the longer a particular unit remains vacant. This is a common strategy used by landlords during slower times of the year and can lower your monthly rent/monthly budget if you are able to take advantage of it.
As previously stated, there is less demand for accommodations during the winter months, so rental rates are normally lower. If you can bargain during this time, you should be able to obtain a reasonable deal.
Go for Middle Floor Units
Ground floor units have several advantages, including easy access to outside space and no chance of your pet falling, which is a concern in the middle units. All of these advantages contribute to the high rental rates on the ground floor.
When compared to top floor units, middle floor units sometimes don’t have as much to offer, such as a good view of the outdoors. That said, the rental price is often lower than ground floor units and top floor units. Bottom line is, if you are willing to forego these pleasures, you will be able to save even more money.
Pick Your Amenities: They Influence the Rent Prices
Rent for luxurious apartments with updated amenities will cost more. For example, if you choose one with in-unit laundry, you are likely to pay rent slightly higher than a renter who lives in a unit with only on-site laundry. The same is true for refurbished apartments, thus, opting for a non-renovated property will save you money on your rent payments.
Skip the Real Estate Agents and Brokers
One of the most frustrating aspects as you begin apartment hunting is being asked for service fees. Real estate agents and brokers often ask for these fees whether or not you sign an exclusive contract with them during apartment hunting. Read more about how to find an apartment without a broker here.
It can be hard to discern which upfront fee is fair and which is not, but there are steps you can take to avoid paying more than you should. If you opt to find the right apartment yourself, for example, you will avoid paying the service fee that brokers often charge.
Choose a Place Closer to Public Transportation
Public transportation is a great way to save a couple of bucks. It is cheaper than owning your own personal car, especially since gas can be expensive. Plus, public transportation is environmentally-friendly, and it gets you where you need to go quickly. With access to public transport, you will not have to rely on taxis or Ubers, which can also get pricey.
Long-Term Leases are More Preferable
There are a variety of lease options to choose from when renting an apartment. A month-to-month lease is where the renter pays for one month at a time and is not locked in long-term. This is ideal for someone who has not lived in the area for very long and is unsure of how long they will be staying in the apartment.
Other typical lease options include:
● 3-month lease
● 6-month lease
● 12-month lease
These are much more common, especially when first moving in. These options work well for someone who has found a place they love and wants to live in it long-term.
Although month-to-month leases are popular and appear to be the cheapest option at first, they are actually quite costly in the long run because they usually come with much higher monthly rental rates. With that said, you can save a couple of bucks by opting for a 12-month lease, which usually comes with a discount.
Use the Apartment Flaws to Lower the Rent
When touring an apartment, be thorough with your inspections. For instance, if you notice hardwood floors are in shambles, use this as a bargaining tool. If you can get a good deal on the lease, it might be worth living with the less than desirable flooring for a few years prior to moving out.
Consider Unfurnished or Partly Furnished Units
Furnished apartments may seem like a good idea at first, but you will end up paying more in the long run. The reason is that even though it seems logical to not have to spend money on new furniture, furnished apartments are much more expensive, and you are not able to take the furniture with you to your next destination. Not to mention, if you choose an unfurnished apartment, you can choose your own furniture, which will ultimately save money and give you more flexibility. Learn more on how much does it cost to furnish an apartment here.
Choose a Smaller Room and Pay Less
It is common to think that bigger is better, but not always. In a world of pricey apartments and busy lives, it can be difficult to find the time or money to provide bigger homes the upkeep and care they need. The solution? Smaller spaces and simpler living.
Seek Out a Location that is Further Away from the University
The way a real estate agent prices a property is typically determined by the area’s supply and demand for apartments. For example, a unit close to a university will usually be more expensive than one not close to the university. The property’s location will commonly dictate how much you will pay in rent.
The search for your dream apartment can seem daunting. However, with a little research (apartment hunting tips), patience, and determination, you will find that your search will be successful. The most important thing you can do when searching for the perfect apartment/best apartment is to be very specific about what you want and realistic about what you can afford. Happy apartment hunting!