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Tips for Looking Through Apartment Listings

Looking for an apartment can be time-consuming and frustrating. There are many different types of apartments out there, and they all have different amenities included that you must consider in addition to the basics of the structure and building. The pricing will also vary, and so will the date that the apartment is available. Moving into a new apartment should be an exciting step in your life, so knowing what to look for can help keep the process of finding an apartment to be much less stressful. To learn more about what to look for in an apartment, and how to have the most efficient apartment search, read the sections below.

Set Your Budget

When determining what your rent budget for each month should be, you must consider all of the expenses that you have eachmonth, such as groceries, utilities, entertainment, gas and medical bills. Take the after-taxes income that you make each month and subtract your expenses from it. It is then a smart idea to deduct that number a little bit more so that you have some wiggle room for savings or in case of an emergency. You will then be left with an approximate budget for what you can realistically spend on rent each month.

Consider Your Must-Haves

While you may not be able to find one apartment that has absolutely everything that you want, it is important to have a simple list of what your must-haves are for an apartment, with some being less negotiable than others. This way, you can search for those things more easily. For example, if you want to live in a specific city, you want a two-bedroom apartment, and you want a pool at the complex, you can more effectively narrow down your options. However, it is also beneficial to be flexible with some of your wants if you are not finding many options that meet all of your needs. For example, maybe you can consider an apartment that has a park instead of a pool as long as it is still in the right city and has two bedrooms. Make some adjustments but still ensure that you are not settling for something that will not work for you and your family.

Visit Your Favorites

Searching for an apartment online can save you a lot of time and effort because you can quickly look through a wide variety of options without needing to take a trip out to each and every one. However, simply looking through online photos does not always show you everything, so it is crucial that you take the time to visit your top favorite options. When you are there, make sure to consider the following:

  • Condition: Look for holes in the walls, mold in the bathroom and make sure that the apartment is up to your cleanliness standards. Also check the water pressure and ensure that the toilets, sinks and showers all work appropriately. You should also ensure that any heating and air conditioning units work as well.
  • Safety: Do the doors and windows shut completely and lock? Do the smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors work? Discuss any security concerns that you have with the landlord.
  • Service: How is your cellphone reception? Make sure that you receive cellular service inside the apartment so that you do not have to leave the apartment each time you need to make a call. Also, if internet is included, make sure that the service speed appropriate for your needs.
  • Amenities: Are there laundry facilities close by? What is the parking situation like? Are pets of any kind allowed? Make sure that the apartment has amenities that are right for you and your family before signing an agreement.

Keep Track of Your Options

Throughout the apartment search process, it is very important to stay organized. Keep a list of the apartments that you find through online searches that you wish to visit in person. Then, after you have visited each apartment, write notes about the pricing, the amenities and other important factors. After visiting a few different apartment complexes, the details of each may blur together and you may end up getting confused about what each apartment offered. Keeping notes can help you immensely with narrowing down your favorite apartments and finally making the decision about which one you will choose.

Discounts and Negotiations

Also keep in mind that when you are looking into a particular apartment, it never hurts to speak with the landlord about any potential discounts he or she may be able to offer. It is not unusual for an apartment complex to offer a rent-free first month, especially if you are willing to sign a longer lease. In fact, in most cases, the longer the lease period that you sign up for, the bigger the discounts you may receive. Consider how long you are willing to lease that apartment and perhaps take advantage of the discounts available for a longer lease.

Go Over the Fine Print

Before you sign for an apartment, make sure that you are completely aware of the lease terms, options for ending a lease early, the exact rent payments due each month and any other costs necessary, such as utilities. With any contract, it is always essential to read through everything to make sure that there are no surprises in the future. Plus, if you are deciding between a couple of different apartments, you may be able to make your final decision after considering the specific differences in cost and/or the amenities available.