Searching for an apartment is a time-consuming and difficult process regardless of whether you’re searching for your first apartment or your fifth apartment. While searching for a new apartment is an exciting experience, it can also be frightening. Unlike searching for a product or service, there are not many options if you realize you chose the wrong apartment. Once you sign a lease, the apartment you decide on usually becomes your home for at least a year.
So how do prospective renters avoid developing renter’s remorse?
By conducting a thorough search and keeping a cautious eye on potential red flags.
1. Don’t Forget to Set and Follow A Budget
Before you start to canvas the web for potential apartments, you need to start your process by establishing a budget. If money was not an object, it would be pretty easy to find the perfect apartment. Of course, money is a pretty significant element in our lives, and should be a primary element in your apartment search. One of the biggest mistakes residents can make is to rent an apartment and discover after a few months that it’s too expensive.
Different financial experts will have slightly different recommendations, but most will say that a person’s rent should not exceed 30% of their net monthly income. Life is full of surprises, and not all of them are good ones. Renters need to make sure that they’re not overextended on their rent so they are financially prepared for life’s expensive surprises.
Once you determine a budget that you’re going to be comfortable with, make sure that you follow it. The best way to do so is to avoid looking at apartments that are outside of your budget. It is more difficult to say no to an apartment outside of your budget once you begin to look at it. Most apartment listing services will allow you to filter by price, which will prevent the temptation of looking at apartments beyond your budget.
2. Don’t Underestimate Location
After you set your budget, you’re going to want to narrow down some general locations to focus your search. A common apartment searching mistake that renters make is they fall in love with an apartment, and sacrifice on the location. While they end up loving the apartment, they regret the commute that the apartment gives them, or the lack of things to do the location of their apartment affords them.
A good tip for narrowing your apartment search is to create a commuting circumference on a map. Use Google Maps to determine traffic estimates, start with your school or job and then create a circle based on the amount of time you’re comfortable commuting. That amount of time will vary depending on the person. Some people can’t stomach the idea of a thirty-five minute commute, others would thrive in a commute that short.
Once you have your circle, you can start looking into the neighborhoods within. Find a few areas that you’d like to live, and if possible, try and only search for apartments in those areas.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Plenty of Questions
When you start communicating with different apartment complexes or landlords, you want to make sure that you’re asking them plenty of questions. Asking questions is a tip to follow throughout the process. You want to ask precise questions during your first communication with property managers, as a specific answer early on can quickly eliminate a particular apartment. For example, if you need to rent and move into an apartment before May, and the property manager tells you the unit is not available until August, there is no sense for you to continue to consider that apartment.
Asking questions during an apartment visit is also very important. In order to eventually rent the perfect apartment, you want to gather as much information as possible to enable yourself to make the most informed decision. Some questions you’ll want to ask during the process include:
- What are the forms of payment for paying rent?
- Does the apartment unit come with a parking spot?
- What utilities are you responsible for?
- What are the terms of my lease?
- Is there a subletting or early termination policy?
- Are pets allowed?
- Are their plans for updates in the unit or complex?
- Under which circumstances will my security deposit not be refunded?
- Is there an on-site maintenance team?
- What is the process for in-unit repairs?
4. Don’t Rush to a Decision
As you make your way through the apartment searching process, you’ll eventually find a couple of candidates to select from. Once you have your options down to two or three units, make sure you take a deep breath and finish to evaluate each unit with your full focus. Sometimes renters are so worn down from the searching process by this point that they rush themselves into signing a lease to bring closure to the experience. Doing so can leave residents feeling regretful they didn’t spend more time searching for their apartment.
Rent with Elevate Living
By following these four steps, you’ll be providing yourself with a great opportunity to find the perfect apartment. Do you want to find the perfect apartment without doing all the work yourself? At Elevate Living, we can help. We manage a wide range of properties in a number of cities. With so many floor plans and amenities to choose from, your search for the perfect apartment is just call away. Contact us today to get started on your search.