Whether you’re searching for your first big-girl apartment in a new city or your current lease up for renewal, apartment hunting can be a daunting task. I know this firsthand, as my previous lease ended at the beginning of August, my roommate moved out and I was stuck with decisions, decisions, decisions. While apartment hunting was a bit of a rough road for me, I hope it can be easier for you by sharing my experience.
Say No To Summer Shopping
The summer is the worst time to renew a lease because the market is highly saturated. While most students around universities might be moving out, interns are moving in! Apartments hike up prices in summer, so try to hold out until fall. You can even find monthly leasing through outlets such as Airbnb that can keep you from getting stuck in an expensive lease, but you will have to decide if it’s worth moving again once the lease is up.
The Models in the Magazines Don’t Look Like The Models in the Magazines
When apartment shopping in the digital age, you may be tempted to do it all virtually. Word from the wise – visit first. A lot of spots look great online, but the pictures may only depict recently renovated areas or not show you the full story and surrounding areas. If unable to visit, see if the complex can provide pictures of the exact unit you would be moving into. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with the image of your apartment and then arriving to find out it belongs to your neighbor across the hall.
Make the Most of Free Services
Most major cities have free apartment locators that will help you look for places. By providing your price range and desired zip code, they provide you with tons of apartment matches and monitor for price drops. Many of them will pick you up and visit each complex with you. Take advantage of this free service. They are paid by the complex when you sign your lease, and can often provide you with added incentives and great information about the properties.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
While it may be ideal to live alone in the most popular part of town, it might not be the most realistic option. Take out a sheet of paper and list what you want from your living experience then rank the importance of each item. For example, living downtown might be number one on your list, which means getting a roommate might be your only option. But if you like having your own neatly organized space with no one else to worry about, that one bedroom on the outskirts of town might be worth the 30-minute commute. Knowing yourself and your priorities will help tremendously when looking for your new home.