Apartment Hunting: What Do I Need?

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Looking for an apartment can be a daunting task. It’s a stressful time in your life, so why not make it easier. Before you set out on your search through the city, take some time and make a checklist.

Fatigue can get to the best of us and then we just take the next apartment we see. Why settle? With a little planning, you can get the ideal apartment to suit your needs.

We’ve come up with a few easy ways to save your shoe leather and make your apartment hunt as stress-free as possible. These are a few items to consider, you will have to add your own, as well.


Location

This is an important one, but it doesn’t just mean living close to work, or the lake or the school. You need to consider all the factors when considering the location. Here you may need a checklist inside your checklist.

  • Close to work or school
  • Close to transit
  • Safety
  • Amenities
  • Cost

Finding an apartment close to where you work is great, but if that’s the only benefit, you’ll soon grow tired and want to move again. Being close to work or school might mean you live in a less-than-desirable area. The same is true if you only consider cost.


Cost

Richer areas also might seem ideal, but they can be targets for break-ins, the assumption being, there is plenty to steal. Security needs to be considered. Are there cameras or security guards or a police station nearby?

Cheap apartments are what most of us desire, but consider the neighborhood, the condition of the apartment and the location. Often, cheap rentals are cheap for a reason, so make sure you check them out thoroughly before committing.

Also, be sure to ask about any hidden costs or bonuses. There will be security deposits but also ask about incentives. There may be a move-in fee or discount.

Get a list of all the items included with your lease, like cable or maintenance fees and be sure you understand the terms of your lease, for example, early release charges or hidden increases.

Paying less for an apartment but having to pay more for your commute needs to be considered. If you live further away, consider your time as well when finalizing your budget. Time spent stuck in traffic or sitting on a stalled train too often will eat up a lot of time you could use to be completing other tasks.


Noise Levels

You need to consider the neighborhood and the neighbors, themselves. Are there pubs or nightclubs nearby? Are the neighbors young college kids who like to party and stay up late?

Also, if you are going to college, you’ll want to be among like-minded people. A quiet neighborhood full of families or retirees won’t suit you. If you want to enjoy yourself, find an area with people who will enjoy the same things.

Being close to transit can be a great asset but there can be a lot of noise, as well. Living too close might mean late-night party-goers, the noise of the buses or trains and other traffic.


Perks

Other factors to consider are what you need to make your life easier and happier. Do they allow pets? Do they have a limit on the number or types of pets? Some places may allow cats but not dogs.

It’s important to know the neighborhood. Keep in mind the things you enjoy, like bike trails, fitness centers or parks.  Are they close or did you find the perfect place and you don’t mind the commute to get to them?

If there are a lot of vacancies in the building, ask about incentives regarding moving in. There may be free rent for a month, free cable or internet or other types of perks.


Apartment Department

You may not find everything on your list, but if you are realistic, you will come close. If you can find a place in an area you like within your budget, then taking transit to work or school will seem like an easy compromise.

Be sure to ask your friends and family. Often, the best places are found by word-of-mouth. Don’t be afraid to rely on an real estate agent, either. They have access to far more than you will find on your own.

A good rule of thumb is to live closer to the places you need to be the most. It might seem obvious, but living close to a lake or sporting arena may not turn out to be very practical. The cost of time and money spent in transit can take its toll.

If you are new to the area or new to apartment hunting, please search our site, we are standing by and happy to help find you the perfect apartment.

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