It takes time to locate the best apartment for your needs. There are many factors you must consider, and if you rush any of them, you risk ending up in an apartment you are unhappy with.
To simplify the process, try treating the apartment search as individual steps. To begin, you must choose your desired location. The location may be your current area or a completely different neighborhood.
If it is a different neighborhood, you need to learn as much as you can about apartments and amenities in the chosen location.
Next, you must look for apartments in your price range. Your price range refers to how much you can put into the apartment each month. Do not make the mistake of only factoring your rent into your price range. You must consider your other expenses, such as utilities and groceries.
Finding an apartment in your desired neighborhood and price range are only the first two steps. You must also make sure the apartment suits your needs in other ways.
For example, you may require a certain square footage or prefer an apartment in a building with security cameras. Below is more information about how to select an apartment that matches your needs.
Consider the Apartment’s Location
Choosing a neighborhood you like or one near your workplace is not enough when looking for an apartment. You also need to consider your habits.
If you like to dine out, living near restaurants is ideal. When working out is a higher priority, a home near a gym is more appropriate.
Look for an apartment with the following factors in mind:
- Commute – Make sure the commute from the apartment you are considering renting is acceptable. If you have to drive an hour or more to get to work, it may be better to move to another location. Even if the drive itself does not bother you, the money wasted on gasoline may.
- Access to Public Transportation – Knowing if there are public transportation routes near your chosen apartment is essential if you do not drive your own vehicle. What you may not realize is public transportation can be helpful when you have a vehicle as well. There are times when riding the bus or calling a cab is useful, such as when your vehicle is being repaired.
- Access to Nature – Access to nature is most important when you have children or pets. However, a nearby park is also useful if you like fresh air, greenery or a place to exercise.
- Neighbor Interaction – Neighbor interaction is not essential, but it is often beneficial. Being able to at least recognize your neighbors by sight and say hello to them makes neighborhood relations better. Moving to an apartment building where the neighbors regularly get together can even create a sense of extended family. You can often count on close neighbors to help you with babysitting or other tasks.
- Access to Food – You cannot live without affordable food. Getting an apartment near food sources you need is essential. Depending on your eating habits, these sources may include sit-down restaurants, take out services or grocery stores.
- Proximity to Schooling Options – If you have children of any ages, investigate the school systems in your areas of interest. Make sure you also consider higher education resources like nearby community colleges.
- Proximity to Other Preferred Amenities – You probably have a list of preferred amenities and activities you love. For example, you might get your hair done or get a professional massage regularly. Look for an apartment within a reasonable distance from whatever businesses and amenities you frequently visit.
Pay Attention to the Building
When looking for apartments to rent, you must not only inspect the apartment but consider the policies of the building.
For example, does the building have any community areas? If so, are there restrictions on when you can use those areas?
Security is also a concern. Make sure there are security cameras present. Also, note how visitors enter the building. If anyone can walk into the common areas of the building freely, there is a security risk. A buzzer system allowing only approved visitors to enter offers more security.
Trash and recycling rules also vary between apartment buildings.
Ask ahead to find out about pick up schedules and fees for those services. If the building has its own gym or pool, there may be fees for use of these services. As a resident, you may not owe a fee for use of those areas, but your guests may need to pay for access.
Another issue to check is the parking requirements at the apartment complex you are considering. See if reserved parking spots are provided. If so, you may need to pay a fee for the service.
Also, check the policy regarding guest vehicles. See if there is a limit on the number of guest vehicles you can have at a time or the hours during which your guests are allowed to park at the complex.
Learn About Other Apartment Details
The possible amenities an apartment can have either internally or nearby are practically limitless. The amenities you may care about are unique to you. For example, you may prefer an apartment with plenty of storage. Alternatively, you may want extra living space.
Here are some other questions to ask about amenities before moving in.
• Is the apartment large enough for your needs?
• Are the lighting levels and window placement acceptable?
• Are pets allowed in the apartment? If so, are there limitations regarding the amount or types of pets you can have?
• If you intend to share the apartment with a roommate, is there a way to secure your personal area?
• Are there limitations on energy consumption in the apartment complex? If such limitations exist, the landlord can explain the circuit breaker system to you and tell you if upgrading the system is possible.
• Does your cellphone get proper reception in the apartment itself and the common areas of the apartment complex? Also, do any cell phone brands used by your friends or family members get reception in your apartment?
• Can you have a washer and dryer in your apartment? If not, is there a common laundry facility on the premises or a nearby laundromat?