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Simple Strategies for Apartment Hunting

Finding a new apartment or condo can be exciting for some and nerve-wracking for others. Suffice it to say it can be a stressful and sometimes difficult process, especially when you need to find a new place asap. These helpful tips remove some of the stress of locating an apartment rental in the real estate market.

Determine Your Budget

One of the first steps in apartment hunting is figuring out what your budget will be for the new place. Most apartments require a security deposit upfront which is usually the first and last month’s rent on top of the monthly rent you’ll be paying during your lease. It can be helpful to chart out your earnings, monthly bills, groceries, and other expenses to get an idea of what you should set your budget at monthly. Keep in mind that some costs, such as your utilities, could be covered in the price of your rent. You may want to consider getting a roommate if you’re not finding a lot of choices in your price range. In addition, management companies want to ensure that they find the right tenants for their apartments, which often includes a credit screening process. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check your score before starting your hunt to see if there are ways to improve it. 

Location, Location, Location

After you have your budget figured out, the next thing you’ll need to consider in your apartment search is the location. You may find that you can find a cheaper apartment in surrounding areas as opposed to a city, so keep an open mind about where to direct your apartment search. You may also need to factor in a commute to work, so if public transportation is a must for you, be sure that your new apartment will be close to stops or stations to help make your life a little easier.

Needs and Wants List

apartment pool area

You’ll also want to list what you’ll need in an apartment, such as how many bedrooms and what you would like the apartment to have when it comes to amenities, such as a pool, on-site laundry, or gym. Knowing what you want in your apartment and what you can live without can help narrow your search.

Online Search Tips

There are many places you can search for apartments. Places like Craigslist or real estate apps can be an excellent way to start your apartment search. Apps like Apartments.com offer great features like sorting by budget and amenities, which can help you narrow down your choices. Keep in mind that while Craigslist may have some real estate gems offered by locals, there are also some pitfalls with scammers putting up ads.

Common Apartment Scams

Sadly, like with most things, some people use apartment listings to scam money out of unsuspecting apartment hunters. Here are some red flags to be on the lookout for to protect yourself from being scammed.

  • Too good of a deal on rental costs where it’s much cheaper than surrounding rentals.
  • Asks for the rent or security deposit upfront before the lease is signed.
  • Makes excuses for why they can’t meet you face to face.
  • The owner doesn’t allow tours.
  • No screening process for tenants.
  • Advertisements with lots of typos and errors. 

Touching base with a real estate broker is one way to help protect yourself from these scams.

Make Appointments for Tours

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s a good idea to request an appointment for a tour with the property manager at the apartments where you’re thinking of filling out an application. Of course, you’ll want to ensure that the property description matches the listing you found and determine which one you want. As some apartments require an application fee, whether approved or not, this can be a great option to help save money if the property doesn’t live up to your standards. 

couple touring an apartment

Take the hassle out of looking for apartments by using these tips to streamline your search. You’ll be a renter in no time. Will you need a place to store your extra items if your new home is short on storage? SelfStorage.com can help. Search out site to find and compare storage units near you!

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