Apartment Hunting Tips & Tricks

by Her Happy Balance on May 2, 2016

Searching for a new place to live is exciting and stressful all rolled into one. There is an apartment out there for everyone, but it’s the sifting through process that I wouldn’t mind skipping. Having recently gone through the process of searching for new digs, I have apartment shopping fresh on the brain! So, I’ve compiled my tips and tricks to make the hunt for the prefect apartment a little easier.

Apartment Hunting Guide

1.) Do some general browsing of apartments in the area where you are going to live using online websites – Apartments.com and ApartmentGuide.com were very helpful when I started my search. It’s good to get an idea of what is out there and what something you are interested in would usually go for. You may need to rethink your budget after assessing the market.

2.) Create a list of things you want in an apartment, know what is a non-negotiable and what you’re willing to be a little more flexible on. I knew I wanted to have a washer/dryer in my unit, but was willing to look at places if they had on-site laundry facilities too.

3.) Do a more serious and focused search for apartments and contact the apartments you’re interested in to set up a walk through. Whenever possible, visit the apartment before signing a lease. Remember, the apartment photos you see in an online listing could be pictures of the model apartment. An apartment that has be renovated and professionally decorated looks great in photos, but what if this model apartment isn’t a great representation of the rest of the building? Maybe you’ll get to the complex and discover that it doesn’t look quite as nice as it did in the photos, or maybe most of the units in the facility haven’t been renovated yet. If you’re relocating and can’t make a trip to visit the apartment facility yourself, reach out to family and friends. Someone you know may be willing to do a walk through for you. Having another set of eyes check out the place, especially from someone who has your best interest at heart, is always a good idea.

4.) Every time you visit a place, take photosI cannot stress this enough! Taking a picture of an empty closet or 5 different angles of the same kitchen may seem a little silly or redundant, but believe me – you won’t regret it. During the selection process I looked at the photos I took SO. MANY. TIMES. You’ll be surprised at the questions you think of after you’ve already left the walk through, but hopefully your photos can be your friend and help answer them later. And even after you’ve signed a lease and selected a place, it’s nice to have photos of the space you’ll be moving into for furniture buying and styling reasons.

Apartment checklist

5.) Ask the real estate agent or leasing agent lots of questions. If you have concerns over pricing, availability, parking options, or any of the included amenities just ask! Even if the information is available on their website it’s okay to ask the agent to clarify. And if utilities aren’t included, ask for an estimate of the monthly billing fee. Chances are you’re going to be looking at a couple different places and it’s easy to get the stats mixed up. Ask questions. Take notes. Repeat!

6.) If time allows, take a little walk around the neighborhood where the apartment complex you’re visiting is situated in. Does it appear safe? Can you see yourself fitting in here? If you’re looking at an apartment in a city – are there grocery stores and pharmacies you could use close by? Is there a bar or restaurant next door? Is it too noisy? Too quiet? You know yourself and the type of environment you thrive in.

Bonus: if you see a resident of the apartment you’re interested in during or after your tour, don’t be afraid to ask them how they like living in the place. Leasing agents are salespeople, but the residents have nothing to gain or lose from giving you their honest opinion.

There are so many different things to consider when choosing your new place, but stay true to you and your needs! There are tons of apartment complexes out there, you can definitely find one that you’ll be happy to call home.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Jessica Lawlor May 2, 2016 at 8:49 pm

OMG! Thank you. This is so incredibly helpful as I just began my first apartment search over the weekend. Love the checklist!

Her Happy Balance May 5, 2016 at 4:15 pm

You are so welcome! And good luck with your search, Jessica. I’m sure you will end up at a great spot.

GiGi Eats May 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm

I have lived in the same apartment for 4 years. I love it. But it’s coming to the point where…….. I am going to have to move soon. I am sad but also super excited for the next venture in my life! Starting my life with someone else 🙂 He and I will be on the hunt for a place to live… Not sure if it will be a rental apartment or a house, but we shall see!

Her Happy Balance May 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

How exciting, GiGi – I wish you all the best of luck in finding your new home with your manfriend!

judy wilson October 31, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I’m glad that you posted this checklist that I can use when looking for a new apartment. I was offered a new job out of state, so I need to find a new place to live before I start working. Knowing to ask about utilities that are included in the rent I’m paying, and any extra fees that I have to take care of seems important for me to find out. I didn’t know that I would have to pay renter’s insurance and for a parking spot, so I’m definitely going to find out if these are things that I’ll have to pay for.

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