Your living space is uniquely personal. Finding the apartment home that fits your life and style takes a little effort, but it pays off in a place you’re proud to call home. Use these expert tips for a smooth and successful search:
1. Crunch the Numbers
Housing takes the biggest bite from your budget, so knowing what you can—and can’t—afford is essential when apartment hunting. A safe bet is to target apartments priced at or under 30 percent of your monthly gross income.
2. Calculate Drive Time
When you’ve found the “perfect” apartment, it’s easy to rationalize a longer commute to work. But, what about 6 months from now? That extra 30 minutes of drive time you initially thought was no big deal may actually be one. Be realistic about the distance you’re willing to travel to and from your workplace.
3. Use Your Resources
Don’t go it alone. Resource guides like the Ultimate Apartment Search Guide will give you some perspective—and practical tips—on evaluating apartment locations, ways to compare features and amenities, and what questions to ask apartment managers when you tour living spaces.
4. Know Your Limits
Take some time to get clear on what you need in an apartment, not just what you want. Make a list of your non-negotiables—two bedrooms, a pet-friendly community, a walk-in closet—and make those items your benchmark when making a list of apartments up for consideration.
5. Pay Attention to Details
Before you sign a lease, make sure you know what is expected of tenants. Community policies differ from place to place, so make sure to read any documentation thoroughly and ask questions for clarification about things like overnight parking, guests, rent payment options, community spaces and so on.
6. Get Your Money’s Worth
As you’re touring potential apartment homes, don’t hesitate to take an in-depth look around. Measure the closets. Check out the water pressure in the kitchen and bath. Open and close the windows and doors. Take a critical look at the actual living space and weigh its value against what you’d be paying in rent.