It’s been a little over a week since I moved halfway across the country, and I have used my time wisely. I’m settling into my new job, finding my way around town, and after much research and some touring, I just signed the lease on a new apartment!
Hunting for a new apartment can be both enjoyable and stressful, especially if there is a big move involved (like mine)! So, since I’ve already done the legwork, I’m going to share my notes on making your apartment search easy and successful:
1. Research apartments online
First, determine your area - do you want to be close to work, or live in a particular suburb or neighborhood? Search for apartments in that area (I found Google Maps to be best for this). Hint: After you’ve found several promising apartments, use the My Places feature to create your own map. You can drop pins where each apartment is located, and edit the color and icon of the pin to further organize your locations (colors to indicate price, shape to indicate quality, etc.) It really helps to visualize everything! Looking at multiple apartments in your preferred area will help you get a feel for the market and narrow down your choices.
2. Set a budget (and stick to it)
Determine how much you can afford to pay in rent, per month and per year. Many places require that your income be at least three times your rent payment, so keep that in mind. Also, don’t forget to factor in other monthly expenses, such as electricity, cable and internet, and food. While having an apartment you love is important, you also don’t want to be stuck at home every night because you can’t afford to go out and have fun!
3. Figure out your must-haves
What are those things you can’t live without? For me, it’s a garbage disposal, washer and dryer connections, and a large closet.
4. NEVER apply for an apartment online without seeing it in person
5. When touring an apartment, be thorough!
6. DON’T apply for the first one you look at
Even if the place seems perfect, you should always have something else to compare it to. Get a feel for what’s out there! You never know what else you’ll find.
7. Don’t settle!
Don’t take something just because you’re tired of looking. This is an important decision, and one you’ll be stuck with for some time. Make sure you’re happy with what you choose. And when you’ve found your place, celebrate!
Now on to the hard part: moving in all that stuff!