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Four Apartment Hunting Tips Everyone Should Know

By Angie Haggstrom

Moving from one place to another always comes with mixed blessings. On one hand, looking at the wide variety of rental properties can be tons of fun and jumpstart your imagination. Unfortunately, the actual move to your new apartment involves a lot of hard work and just plain stress. Because of this, you want to make certain you find a place that suits your needs by examining the cost, the location, and the management of the available units.

Is Apartment Living Right For You?

You want to make certain that you are okay with living in an apartment complex and can deal with all the difficulties that go with it. If you like to have friends over late at night and you know you tend to get a little loud, a house might be the better option for you. Do you want a big backyard, or is it just extra work that you don't have time for? Can you tolerate having your neighbors so close? Remember, it's often the little things that drive you crazy in the end.

Apartment Costs

The actual costs involved in renting and apartment can be a huge obstacle. In many instances, renters find out that they just can't afford to stay only after living there for a few months. This turns their home into a terrible nightmare with bill collectors phoning and the landlord banging on their doors.

Before you start your search for a rental, make certain you define your real price range. This dollar figure should leave you with enough income to cover your rent, all of your expenses, including utilities, and have some extra left over for entertainment.

So, what happens if you find an apartment that you absolutely love, but that doesn't fit into your price range? Well, you have three options: make more money, walk away from it, or get a roommate.

If you do decide to rent with a roommate, be certain that you can live with this person and that he or she is financially responsible enough to make the payments. Otherwise, you'll be left with the entire rent payment and no money.

How the Rental Works

When you look at a rental unit, be sure to find out who you'll be dealing with. In some instances, a professional service such as a property management company looks after everything. Other times, you'll have a landlord. Regardless, both situations will have their pros and cons and you'll need to find out how things work.

You'll need to ask questions. Does the landlord have a plan if something happens outside of normal business hours? If the landlord becomes ill or goes away, who do you contact?

Do they have safety regulations in place such as an emergency plan? What if something breaks in your apartment? It can seem like a hassle, but the more you learn about your new home before you move in, the less trouble you'll have in the future.

Consider the Surrounding Neighborhood

You'll likely have to sign a one or two year lease in order to rent your apartment, and this can be an awful long time if you dislike where you live. Therefore, when you go hunting for a new place, be sure to consider all of the amenities the surrounding area has to offer.

Does the area match your lifestyle? If you have children, you'll want a good school nearby or at least easy transportation. If you like to go to the gym, see if there's one in the neighborhood. Do you want peace and quiet, or do you live for the adventurous nightlife? If you don't find what you need, you're best to move on. An inconvenient apartment just never really feels like home, and that's never a good thing.

You'll find successful apartment hunting actually involves less looking and more research. But, by outlining exactly what your needs are, you'll be better able to match them up to the units available and greatly reduce the number of places you have to look through. You'll also be a whole lot happier with the results.