So your lease is up and it’s time to find a new apartment to call home. If it’s been a while since you last moved, you may need a refresher when it comes to what to look for when you are looking through and searching for potential apartments.
Looking through potential apartments can be daunting. There’s a lot to consider, and making the right and smart decision is important for determining what your life will be like for the next 3, 6, 12, sometimes more, months.
If you’re back on the hunt for an apartment as a renter, below are 10 things you should look for when looking through potential apartments so you can be sure when you do find a spot that you’re making the right decision.
When looking through potential apartments, make sure you’re targeting ones in your price range — you can look at rent reports like this one to make sure you’re paying the right price for the place you see. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with an apartment only to find out you can’ afford it.
Making sure you’re checking listings in your price range is critical for you to find the spot that is perfect for you and available to you. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by because you were wasting time accidentally checking out apartments with rents you can’t afford.
The location of the apartment you’re looking to move into is very important. You’ll need to see how far away the apartments you check out are to your job or to other important locations like your family or extended family’s homes, or school if you are a student.
Location is a large part of finding out about how safe the area you are potentially renting is. For instance, if you’re looking to rent an apartment or upgrade to a home in Miami, you’ll need to look even further into what areas of Miami will work for you, namely concerning its walk score, crime score, and general demographics.
Points of interest
Somewhat hand-in-hand with the location are points of interest. Check out what some points of interest surrounding an apartment are before you consider renting it.
This has a lot to do with what you find important and enjoy doing. If you have a specific diet you follow, find out what restaurants offer options you can actually eat nearby, if any.
If you are renting as a family, look for what sort of schools are nearby, or parks and restaurants as well. Look into the entire school system available to you at that location.
Check out how close you are to a gas station, how close you are to a highway, how close you are to the grocery store. If it’s something you need to do on a regular basis, check how close you are to it! These are the points of interest specifically to you.
If you can find a place that checks off basic points of interest as well as the ones specific to you, you’ve found a promising spot.
Whether or not it meets your needs
As far as points of interests go for meeting your needs, the inside of the actual apartment needs to meet your expectations and lifestyle as well.
If you cannot live without a garbage disposal in your sink or a dishwasher – you’ve tried it, and it just didn’t work with your schedule, or whatever the reasons are – know them, and know them well, because you will need to assess whether or not an apartment has what you need in it.
This can come down to the kitchen, as mentioned above, the garbage disposal or dishwasher inclusion, but also how many bedrooms, bathrooms, whether or not parking is available, and what the laundry situation is, as well.
These are all very important, and while it is possible to find a rental that checks off every box (especially if you are a family renting a home), you may have to make some concessions here and there. Prioritize what is a deal breaker for you, and when you approach an apartment, keep an eye out for it.
Is it FSBO?
For sale by owner listings versus agent or realtor listings is an essential fact for renters to look for when looking through potential apartments.
While both FSBO rentals and agent represented locations offer quality apartments for rent, they are different. First off, whoever is listing their home or apartment as FSBO will generally be listing it for a little cheaper since they won’t have to pay a commission after a lease is signed.
With that in mind, FSBO is usually the way to go if you’re looking to save money. But, realtors with access to the MLS generally list quality properties. This really is up to you and your preference – if you would rather be dealing with the owner directly and not a realtor, go FSBO. You’ll likely have less paperwork and fewer hoops to jump through, and you’ll probably save a bit of money, too.
Neighbors or roommates
If you’re interested in a spot, definitely check out your roommate situation (if there is one) or your neighbors on your floor or street.
Ask around a little bit – it can’t hurt. Find out what everyone’s sleep schedule seems to be, what their kitchen use schedule is. Know again what you can and cannot live with and approach accordingly.
What it’s like talking to your potential landlord
You are going to be conversing and dealing with your potential landlord for an agreed amount of time. It’s a good idea to get a sense of how you two communicate and deal with each other before signing a lease.
Fortunately, when you’re discussing visiting an apartment or renting an apartment, you inherently will have to converse and are given the opportunity to feel this out as you go.
If a realtor or owner is pushing you into a lease, that is a bad sign. You shouldn’t be pushed into signing a lease by any means. Unless the place is literally perfect for you and there are some clear extenuating circumstances, take pushiness as a red flag.
Check the lights and water
A basic but sometimes overlooked tactic, check the lights and make sure the water is working when you’re checking out a potential apartment.
The last thing you want is to be accused of causing damage upon moving in and then being the one that has to pay for the plumbing.
Any needs for repairs?
Following up with the lights and water check, figure out by looking or explicitly ask about any needs for repairs and get this conversation in writing.
It’s not uncommon for repairs to be swept under the rug so that it looks like they appeared under your lease and are therefore your responsibility.
The move in date
Should there be repairs or renovations occurring before your move-in, make sure you get your actual move-in date in writing.
Sometimes owners aren’t able to accurately predict the timeline of a repair or renovation – but in that case, they should be responsible for making sure you are accommodated accordingly.
If you don’t have your move-in date in writing, it will be difficult for you to hold them accountable.
Looking for and finding a new apartment can be an exhausting task, but don’t rush it. It’s a decision that’s worth making in a smart, calculated way. Use these 10 tips when you’re venturing into finding your new apartment and you’ll be able to land your perfect pad in no time.