Beginner’s Guide to: Apartment Hunting 101

Welcome back! Today I’m delving into the topic of apartment hunting. Within the past year I’ve had to apartment hunt twice, and I feel like there’s definitely stuff I wish I knew going into the process. It can definitely be an overwhelming process, so today I’m sharing all my tips and recommendations if any of you are about to embark on the apartment hunting journey!

Compromising is inevitable

When you’re looking for an apartment, the odds that you find one in the perfect location, under budget, with all the features you want, is unlikely. You will most likely have to compromise on something, so before you start looking you should try to come up with a list of things that are a non negotiable and……

Prioritize

Take that list of things you absolutely cannot live without, and prioritize the rest. Basically ask yourself: what is the most important feature your new place needs to have? A good way to figure this out is to look at your current living situation and think about all the things you do not like, or wish you could change. It’s a great place to start and then you can slowly build your list of features and qualities you need to have, and those you can live without.

Always visit the apartment if possible

Unless you physically cannot visit an apartment, I highly recommend you do so. It is key to helping determine if you like the apartment or not. Anyone can take pretty pictures and make a space look nice, but seeing it in person is often much different. On the other side of that, some apartments may not have great pictures available, so you’d definitely want to visit to get a good feel for the space and amenities you would have.

Take into account potential extra fees

Apartments are notorious for having numerous random fees that you may not initially take into account. That’s another reason why it’s so important to visit the apartment if you can, or at least speak to a leasing consultant on the phone. You may see one price online, and not be aware of fees for parking, trash removal, sewer, water or pets if you have them. These can easily add up and make your rent much higher than you anticipated.

Write down questions you have in advance before you visit the apartment

Before you tour an apartment, it’s always good to have a list of potential questions ready to go. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re touring and not remember something important that you wanted to ask. It’s happened to me before, and it’s one of the most annoying things. If you know you have a pet, make sure you ask about the pet policy. If you’re wondering about parking, make sure you ask how many spots are allotted for guests. These are just a few examples of some things that are always helpful to know, but you may not think to ask.

Take notes/pictures if you’re touring more than two places

If you’re looking at a bunch of different places, it can get confusing trying to keep track of all of them and which ones you liked, and which ones you didn’t. There’s probably going to be pros and cons of all of them, so I found keeping notes/pictures on each place I visited was extremely helpful when it came time to pick which one I wanted to apply to.

Make a checklist of all the necessary paperwork for an application

When you finally decide on an apartment that you love, I’d recommend making a checklist of all the paperwork you’ll need to provide for either your application or your lease. Some places do not take credit cards or cash for an application fee, so you may have to go to your bank to get a certified check, or use a personal check. Most places will also want proof of income so prepare to have two recent paystubs available to provide.

Be aware of the individual policies that apartments have (Pets, income standards, etc)

Again, a lot of places have different policies that can get confusing to keep track of. Some have income standards, (for example, your income may need to be 3 times the amount of rent), so that’s something important to consider. They may also have specific policies when it comes to pets,(a pet fee, extra rent every month for the rent, specific buildings where pets are allowed). The same goes for parking, utilities, cable ( some places have specific providers you have to use), etc. It’s always good to make sure you’re aware of everything you’re getting into before you sign that lease!

And that’s it! I hope these tips and recommendations can help any of you who are currently or will be hunting for a new apartment! Keep it klassy, xo.

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