So you've decided that it's time to move and you've ironed out all of the little details, decided on your moving budget and started your planning, but there's just one little problem: you don't have a place to move yet. Well, you'd better start looking. However, you'll soon find out that finding an apartment isn't quite as easy as it seems. Whether it's your first time moving out or you're a seasoned veteran in the apartment-hunting game, every time you search for a new apartment is a different adventure, and it helps to reacquaint yourself with the ins-and-outs of looking for an apartment.
When you're looking for a new apartment, there are a lot of factors you're going to be considering before making your ultimate decision. For example, you want to make sure the apartment is in a neighborhood that you feel comfortable in, as well as a neighborhood that is convenient for you. You're also going to want one that suits you and your needs and has the right kind of amenities, and finally you're going to want to find one that fits your budget.
When you put all of these things together, finding the apartment that's perfect for you isn't always a walk in the park. This guide will take you through the apartment-hunting process and give you some tips and advice on where you can look for a new apartment and all of the tools and resources at your disposal.
Using the Internet
Looking for an apartment has become much more convenient with the Internet and the seemingly infinite number of resources that are available for apartment hunters on the World Wide Web. For that reason, the Internet is fast becoming the best way to search for a new apartment, or at least the best place for you to begin your search.
As you get deeper into the process of looking for a new apartment, you're going to actually have to visit them in person, but as a jumping-off point, there's no better place to begin searching for a new apartment than online. There are now a host of helpful and easy-to-use websites where you can search for apartments in the area you want to move to, and you can browse the listings for hundreds of apartments available for rent from the comfort of your couch.
Here are some of the most popular places around the web where you can begin your apartment search:
- Craigslist - Craigslist is an excellent resource to begin your apartment search and you can narrow your search down to just about any city in America to look for apartments that are for rent. But while this website is sure to contain hundreds of listings for you to browse through, you should always practice caution when using Craigslist, as it's not held to the same standards as professional real estate websites and users may fall victim to scams if they are not careful. Always make sure to directly contact the person who posted a listing either by phone or email to ask any questions and inquire about the listing and never send any money without first seeing the apartment and meeting with the landlord or apartment owner.
- Apartment Guide - This website is a great resource for anyone looking for a new apartment and you can search for apartments by city, by zip code, by neighborhood and even by the name of your college if you're a student and you're looking for an apartment near your school. Like most apartment searching websites that are available on the Internet, Apartment Guide also has an app for iPhones and iPads so you can browse apartment listings wherever you are.
- Apartments.com - Much like Apartment Guide, this website allows you to search for available apartments in any area that you want, with mobile apps as well. The added bonus with Apartments.com is that you can also browse reviews for listings in the area that you're looking at so you can see what other people have to say about the neighborhood or city. The website also provides renters with tips and advice.
Go for a drive
Once you've narrowed down the area where you're planning on buying an apartment, your next step is to actually visit the area, if you're not already familiar with it. Drive around the streets and get a feel for the neighborhood to see if it suits you. How far away are the supermarkets and stores? What would your commute to work be like? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself when surveying the neighborhood.
Of course if you're already familiar with the neighborhood, you should still visit it to browse available apartments in person. When it comes to getting a true feel of an apartment or a neighborhood, visiting them in person will beat browsing on the Internet every single time. Drive through the area that you're planning to move to and scope out the apartment buildings or complexes that catch your eye and find out whether there are apartments available for rent there. You can also check out bulletin boards at local coffee shops or supermarkets for nearby apartments for rent.
Asking friends or family
If you have any friends, family or colleagues that live in the area you want to move to, ask around and see what they have to say about the area. Ask them questions about which neighborhood is best and what they recommend. Also, don't forget to inquire about whether they know of any available apartments in the area and see what they have to say about the living costs and affordability of the city or town.
More valuable than any Internet database or apartment rental brochure is the actual input and advice from experienced and knowledgeable people who have lived in an area for a certain amount of time. They'll be able to tell you all the insider info you need to know about what the area is like, including where the best and most convenient places to live are.
Searching based on your needs
Lastly, another important factor to consider when searching for a new apartment is your needs and what suits your lifestyle, and using this information to narrow down a particular area is a great way to find the apartment that's perfect for you. For example, if you're attending school and would like an apartment that's nearby so you can easily commute to and from your classes and the school library, either by foot or bicycle or mass transit, try looking for an apartment in one of the neighborhoods closest to the school.
If you're on a budget and can't afford the high rents typically associated with living in an apartment in a major city, look outside of the city in the neighboring towns and suburbs for cheaper apartments with easy access to public transportation that can get you to and from the city.