Finding an apartment to rent can be daunting. Especially if you are a first time renter, or if you’re relocating to a new city. Of course you know the basic questions to ask before stepping foot on a property – number of bedrooms, location, cost of rent & utilities per month, location to school/work/transportation, are pets allowed, etc. But how do you know what to ask beyond the basics? How do you find an apartment that will feel like home?
1. Use an Apartment Finding App.
While “apartment for rent” signs are still around, today your phone is your best source to find that perfect apartment. Some of the top rated search tools include:
- LiveLovely.com – Tell Lovely what you’re looking for in an apartment and how much you want to spend and you’re good to go. Properties show up on a map and you can easily identify new listings by their colors on the map or in your list and you can set up alerts so you get push notifications when a new listing appears that meets your criteria. You also can set up your "Renter Card" in Lovely that includes useful information about you, your renting history, and other useful data you would send to a potential landlord, and use it to get in touch and pre-apply for apartments as soon as you see them, right on your phone. Ideally, this would give you a competitive edge in hot rental markets. Similarly, you can make a list of properties you're interested in and save it for future reference.
ForRent.com is another great place to narrow your search and watch virtual tours. But here you can do even more, check your credit, get moving tips, they’ll even help you find a roommate. Check out the tips tab and get info on everything from the basics of Apartment Renting 101, to tips for moving with pets, to City Guides.
2. Define your priorities.
Do you want your apartment to be a sanctuary and retreat? Are you a social butterfly always ready for the next party? Will your apartment be an extension of your office, or your actual office? Are hardwood floors a must? Not all complexes will fit your needs and priorities.
- At MyNewPlace.com you can search for your new place by amenities and get detailed floor plans, video tours and more.
3. Location, Location, Location
You’ve heard it a thousand times, but the old cliché is true – the location of your new apartment is key. Check out hotpads.com. See maps of potential locations in relationship to neighborhood landmarks and points of interest.
Dig a little deeper and get to hotpads.com/search/hotspots/ to see images of the apartment, contact info, and rental rates. You can select is you want a dog friendly location, or one that loves cats, a free standing home, a small quite community, or a large apartment comples with all the amenities!
You gotta have it, but how do you know if your potential new apartment is in a safe neighborhood, especially if you’re new to town. Check out the local police department website and search crime statistics by neighborhood. If you can’t find the info on line make a phone call and check out the stats.
5. The dotted line...be prepared.
Once you narrow down your search there are so many things to consider before you sign on the dotted line. Be prepared to fill out the application paperwork and plunk down a deposit. Make sure you have contact info for your employer, present and past landlord info, and it can’t hurt to bring a copy of your credit report. Most apartment complexes will run their own check but having the report can be reassuring and put you ahead of others in a competitive market. *Info from houszz.com
So next time you're searching for your first apartment, relocating, or just moving across town use these tips to find your perfect apartment!