Looking for a Big-City Apartment? Here’s How to Find the Perfect Spot

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Finding an apartment in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, or any town that sports skyscrapers and is a well-known hub of metropolitan activity can be a challenge. If you rush into any old deal, it may wipe out your savings faster than you could have imagined.

Don’t let that happen. It’s easy, instead, to learn how to land a decent apartment for a lower price tag and save some of that hard-earned money for the other expenses you’re sure to encounter in a large city.

Here are # tips on apartment hunting in a big city:

1. Research the Area Beforehand

If you don’t prepare, you won’t know your market or what your own bare-minimum requirements are. Google your intended neighborhood and find out all you can about it. Where are the affordable quarters? How close will you be to the job you’ve landed and/or the pastimes that you hanker for?

Also, you’ll surely find forums that are made up of present-day residents and past residents, as well as newbies seeking to get to know their new home, just as you are doing. There’s nothing as valuable as talking to someone who knows your soon-to-be home like the back of his hand. Try to slough off the ultra-negative comments and concentrate on information that is helpful and positive.

2. Prepare to Be One of Many

There is nothing as humbling or as competitive as trying to qualify for a much-desired apartment in a major city. That’s especially the case when you answer a listing for a moderately priced apartment. You’ll find yourself among a hundred other applicants attending what’s known as an “open house call,” where you show up with whatever it is that the landlord is requiring for that particular apartment.

The more of a plum your intended apartment is, the more complicated the selection process is going to be. Heard of jumping through hoops? This will be a series of exhausting hoops, but at least you will have the comfort of knowing that a) one of the hundred hopefuls gathered with you will score the apartment—you have just as much of a chance as anyone else and b) each apartment “no” will bring you closer to your apartment “yes.”

Yep! There’s one out there with your name on it.

3. Expect a Credit Check

If your credit is not among the top percentile of good credit risks, explain why beforehand. Don’t wait until the report has been pulled; it’ll make you look that much more responsible… and honest.

4. Know Where the Bulletin Boards Are

Get yourself into college campuses and libraries, as well as local bodegas and supermarkets. Also, the very apartment buildings you would like to live in usually have a spot near the lobby to post news.

During your search, you’ll have far too many numbers to enter them all into your phone. Make it a habit to carry a little notepad and pen. Plus, seen on a piece of paper, it’s easier to keep track of your listings. Also, jotting each lead on a piece of paper will let you add notes on the particular rental, such as what the landlord’s requirements are, and how much the rent will be.

5. Network Where It Counts

Speak up! Spread the word of your apartment search to the guys and gals most liable to be in the financial bracket to rent out property. Would that be your boss? The guys you play Racquetball with? Your friendly neighborhood bank manager? Don’t hesitate to include anyone and everybody you can think of—better to err on the side of over-asking than to chance missing out on the coolest apartment deal of the century in your city.

6. Respond ASAP!

If you do get called by either a landlord or rental agent, you will have to drop what you’re doing to either answer their questions or to run over there and sign on the dotted line. There are many back-up persons waiting in line to occupy the apartment if you fail to show in a timely manner.

Don’t forget your checkbook!

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