TweetShare5Pin3+1Share715 Shares Hunting for a new apartment is never easy, but with the right tips in your arsenal, you can improve your chances of landing that dream spot. Use these seven tips to get started. Finding The Perfect Apartment Consider Your Situation Before you start browsing for apartments, you need to understand your financial situation. Affordability is essential for finding the right apartment, so get a handle on your budget. The U.S. Census Bureau suggests that your monthly rent should not exceed 20% of your monthly income. Create a spreadsheet or use an online service like Mint to track your income and expenses, including bills, car payments, student loans, groceries, entertainment, and shopping sprees. Use Your Resources Start researching apartments three months prior to when you want to move. Go beyond Craigslist and use trusted websites such as Zillow to search for available listings. Make a list of the features that matter most and filter your results to narrow down your search. Be wary of listings without pictures, and remember: if something is too good to be true, it usually is. Some popular neighborhoods might not list their property online, so drive around to find “For Rent” signs. If you’re a fan of specific complex, ask someone you know who lives there for any vacancies or to put you in touch with the landlord. Scout the Location When considering locations, there are several basic things you need to keep in mind. Safety is among the chief concerns, so look for neighborhoods with low crime rates. Convenience matters, and the closer your apartment is to work, grocery stores, and amenities such as laundromats, the easier your life will be. If you’re without a car, look for apartments within close proximity to public transportation. For apartments in urban areas, take note of street parking availability. Check the neighbors to avoid settling into an apartment with disrespectful residents. If you have children, be sure to research school districts and community parks. Find Lower Rent If you’re on a budget, check all the ways you can find lower rent. Looking outside an urban area with a commutable distance to work can save a lot of money—or give you more square footage at the same price tag. If you do live in an urban area, take advantage of public transportation to shed costs on gas and car maintenance. Research the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to see if you qualify for any subsidies that may reduce the cost of rent. Remember that roommates can slash the price of an apartment in half, and negotiation is always an option. Run a Credit Check Most landlords will run a background check report, but it’s a good idea to run a report for yourself. By combing through your results, you can prepare explanations for any potential roadblocks and contest any errors you might find. All three credit reporting agencies are obligated to give you one free report a year, and you might be able to provide the landlord with this free report instead of paying the cost they charge to run their own credit check. Ask the Right Questions Talk to past and present tenants to determine whether or not you want to live in a property. Ask about living expenses in the area, especially if you’re new to the neighborhood. Tenants can give you an idea as to the average cost of transportation, utilities, and entertainment. They’re also your best resource for recommendations on where to eat and the best local amenities. Do a Walk-Through Once you’ve found your ideal apartment, be sure to do a walk-through before signing on the dotted line. Even if you’re happy with the property, landlord, and location, a walk-through will prevent you from being responsible for any maintenance issues or damage caused by previous tenants. Turn on lights, faucets, and included appliances to make sure they function properly. Flush the toilets and double check the locks on doors and windows. If you do find any damage, document it by taking a digital photograph and show them to the landlord to ensure there’s no discrepancies in the future. While apartment hunting can be fun, it can also be stressful. Refer back to this guide to help you find the dream space to settle into. Today’s guest writer, Adam Pepka, is a real estate doyenne and finance guru currently residing in Tucson, Arizona. His real estate investments in several states keep him constantly on the go, and his passion for writing has found him penning pieces with unique insights on everything from landlording issues to investment advice. What’s your best apartment hunting advice? The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts Guest Blogger This post is written by a top professional who specializes in providing you with tips and inspiration in beauty/skincare, small biz, home, tech, fashion, parenting, family travel, women's health and/or great food. Latest posts by Guest Blogger (see all) 5 Things To Do In Thailand Besides Elephants - June 19, 2018 7 Tips to Find the Perfect Apartment - October 25, 2017 6 Ways to Control Stress Sweat - September 25, 2017 TweetShare5Pin3+1Share715 Shares 13 Responses Adeola October 30, 2017 Definitely find the best rate for the location, use your network while searching don’t just rely on agencies and what they tell you. Reply Kiwi October 30, 2017 You have to find the best rates. I have rented plenty of apartments so you always have to make sure you are getting the best price for the location. Reply MUAKimPorter October 29, 2017 These are great tips. I haven’t gone apartment hunting before, but these tips can apply for those house hunting. Reply thestyleperk October 27, 2017 These are some great tips! Apartment shopping can be so hard and stressful! Reply Carissa (The Green Eyed Lady) October 26, 2017 Great Tips! Like others said doing drive-by’s during the day and evening, but especially on the weekends during the evenings because more people are at home and its nice to see exactly what’s going on. Reply mimicutelips October 26, 2017 Doing your own research, on a potential community. Visit during the day and again at night to make sure it’s safe. Reply staciesayzso October 26, 2017 Great tips! I know someone looking for a new apartment so I’ll be sure to pass on the tips. Reply Ramona Collins October 26, 2017 These tips are awesome and essential. I like your suggestions to check the neighbors. Many people forget to do this. Reply Candice S. October 26, 2017 Yup that’s a good one. I’ve also done night time drive by’s too. It’s good to see what the parking situation and neighbors are like in the evenings. Reply Jo October 25, 2017 Great tips. This is extremely difficult in the NYC area because everything is so expensive. I’m glad I was able to find an apartment in my brother’s 2-family. lol Reply Candice S. October 25, 2017 It’s crazy here in Nashville too. As a matter of fact I just received my renewal notice today and need to see what the new lease rates are looking like. I’m almost scared to look. Reply Sheena Steward October 25, 2017 This is all great advice. Before getting married and moving into our home I was in the same apartment for 8 years. It’s just frustrating looking for an apartment and Nashville’s cost of living keeps increasing by leaps and bounds. Reply Candice S. October 25, 2017 Wow! 8 years is a long time. I don’t think I ever stayed anywhere longer than 4 years. I’ve moved around a lot in my adult life and now I’m ready to settle down in a house, but everything is so expensive here. 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