Anyone who’s ever searched for an apartment knows it can be a stressful experience, especially if you’re doing it at the last minute. Finding a place with just the right amount of space and light, in just the right part of town, at just the right price, can be really rough.
If you’re stressing about the apartment search, the very first thing you should put on your to-do list (if you have one) is relax. Becoming agitated about the situation won’t do anything to help the search, and it may indeed make you resentful and resistant of the apartment locating process. Fully de-stress yourself before resuming the search, or you’ll just become more and more frustrated with the situation—and the more frustrated you become, the less productive your “search” will be.
Different people relieve stress in different ways, but some common techniques that may help include massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, deep breathing, and meditation. If you can’t afford a professional massage or acupuncture treatment, look into using massage or acupressure techniques to self-treat, or enlist the help of a friend for a massage. Something as simple as rubbing your earlobes or the space between your thumb and first finger can help you calm down and re-focus your attention on a new task. Light a soothing lavender candle and take ten deep breaths, and refocus your energy on yourself instead of on the apartment search. Try some meditation techniques or consider joining a yoga class. Exercise is a great stress reliever, since focusing your body’s energy on a physical task helps release nervous energy and relieves you of the need to focus your extra attention on the negative.
Recognize Your Limits
When shopping for an apartment, it’s easy to feel like you should always be on the lookout for a new place, whether that involves constantly searching the internet for more information, grilling your friends for what they might know, or calling apartment after apartment asking to be shown around. Allow yourself to recognize that the apartment search is important, but take the smart approach and budget yourself an hour or two per day to devote to it. When your allotted search time is over, don’t stress about the situation—don’t even think about it at all. A ton of stress will slide off your shoulders as soon as you take this step, since you’ll know that you’re devoting enough time to the search without letting it overwhelm your life.
Time constraints often make the apartment search process extra stressful. We all too often delay the search process until the last minute, making it seem like we’ll have to accept a less-than-ideal apartment because we can’t find exactly what we want. Decide for yourself whether your priority is quality or speed. You can probably persuade your current place to let you stay an extra month if necessary to finish your search. It may cost you, but forking over a little extra rent for a month is a small price to pay in comparison to picking an apartment you don’t really like—and paying rent on it for months or years—just because your search was rushed. Take the time to do it right, and you’ll be rewarded in the end. Whatever you pay extra for another month at the old place will be paid back by peace of mind in your perfect new home.
Organize the Operation
Once you’ve completed your initial stress relief process, you can start thinking about your apartment search again. This time, however, approach it in a new way. Nothing will keep you stress-free like a well-organized plan for your search. Start by making a list of exactly what you want in an apartment. Include, at the very least, location, size, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and desired amenities (internet, cable, pool, fitness complex, communal grills, business center, community events, etc.). If you have children, pets, or other special needs, you’ll definitely want to make sure your new complex will accommodate these needs. The better an idea you have of what you want, the easier your apartment search will be. The trouble—and stress—of the search comes from not knowing what you want, and looking at property after property that just doesn’t do it for you.
Apartment locating services exist for a reason—to help you. Apartment complexes can sometimes seem to be surprisingly “secretive” and poorly marketed. This may be because landlords have figured out that apartment locators offer the perfect service—extensive and helpful marketing at no cost unless the client actually decides to do business—i.e., rent from the apartment complex. Apartment locators work for you for free; they’re paid a “finder’s fee” of sorts by the apartment complex when you move in. If you do find an apartment locator that wants to charge you for services rendered, just move to the next entry in the online yellow pages—the first place isn’t worth your time.
Apartment locators are most helpful when you have a great idea of what you want, so making a plan and establishing priorities as described above will really help you get the most out of a location service. Once you meet with a locator and describe your dream apartment, he or she will usually work on putting a list together of potential properties. Locators have resources that the average apartment hunter can only dream of—detailed information about apartment amenities, square footage, floor plans, pictures, and rent specials. After reviewing an initial list of properties, the locator will take you on a tour of the ones that appeal to you most. Enlisting the experts to help you out, rather than doing all the research yourself, will save you a ton of time and energy.
Once you’ve found the perfect place—thanks to your de-stressing sessions, careful planning, and willingness to accept help—reward yourself with a calming bubble bath in your beautiful new apartment. You’ve earned it—you found the apartment with a minimum of stress, and you should enjoy it stress-free too.