Finding an apartment can be an overwhelming task. Driving through town gazing at complex after complex the possibilities seem endless; but deciding how to go about finding the one that’s right for you can be tricky. On first glance an apartment can seem great, but it’s really important to scope them out before renting. Here are a few tips on how to get started looking for that perfect apartment.
Scoping out your options
Some great tools to use on your quest for an apartment are search engines such as Craig’s List, Google, and of course, ApartmentRatings.com. Craig’s List and ApartmentRatings.com allow you to create a search by area and specific personal qualifications. They are broken down categorically – like cheap apartments – so it’s easy for you to narrow your search and find an apartment. They often offer feedback from residents, which is great help when searching for an apartment you know nothing about. Who better to tell you about it than someone who has already had to deal with the train rolling by every morning at 2am?
Another helpful place to look is towards apartment locators. I know, I know… you don’t want to have to make an appointment, drive around all day with a perfect stranger, and run the risk of having conflicting music taste – the locators usually drive. But these people do nothing but sit around and search for apartments all day long, and they generally have a pretty good idea of what your city has to offer. Just by going in and making a quick appointment to talk about what you’re looking for, they often have a few immediate suggestions. Also, they work completely for you. They generally aren’t paid unless you find an apartment and sign a lease, so they’re totally committed to hang in there with you until your dream apartment is found. A devoted apartment finder servant? Sounds good. And hey, you won’t even waste your own gas!
Also, ask around. A friend of a friend might live in a great complex that they would be willing to let you look at. Or, someone might be looking for a roommate – and who knows, maybe they’re the clean type who will do your laundry for you. And if you’re in college, check out the postings up at school. There might be subleasing notices that would work perfectly with your summer or semester plans.
Deciding on your criteria
This can be the hardest part of your search. One of the most difficult things is finding a roommate. Let’s face it, you and Mindy have been best friends for forever, but living with her this past semester was pretty much the worst thing that has ever happened to you. A great friend does not equal a great roommate – at least not in all cases. It’s important to think about what your habits are: do you stay up late, are you a neat freak, do you have any pet allergies, can you only study in complete silence? These things might not seem like a big deal, I mean, it’s a whole apartment! But when Mindy’s toy poodle chews up your favorite pair of sexy high heels, you suddenly forget about her having shared her peanut butter and jelly with you every day in middle school. When looking for a roommate, try and search through friends. Mindy might not be the best candidate, but you don’t want to live with a total stranger, so maybe Mindy’s cousin who doesn’t like dogs would be a good possibility. Use your friend network to look around for possible roomies.
For most of us, finding a cheap apartment is a goal. You don’t want to have to fight rats for your cereal in the mornings, but working the night security shift at the local mall to make rent is probably not too appealing either. In this case, look for a friend, with generally the same income level, and check out their apartment. Most likely, it’s in your price range, or at least could give you an idea of what a cheap apartment in your area would be like. Also, set a range that you’re willing to look in. Chances are, you’re not going to find an apartment for exactly what you’re willing to pay, so look around – you might even find a cheaper one with everything you’ve ever dreamed of!
Another main concern is safety. This requires that you check out the type of neighborhood apartment complexes are located in. The property might be gated, but if thugs are looming directly outside the gates, waiting for someone to be buzzed in, the gates might not do too much good. Ask the apartment residents or management about crime rates, or reported break-ins to get a realistic idea of what to expect.