Up until this point, we’ve mostly been focusing on the landlord aspects of Rocket Lease, but the fact is that apartment hunters are our customers, too. That’s why today we want to talk about the sometimes exciting but often dreadful apartment hunting process. Whether you’ve found a new job in a new city or are downsizing your living situation to save your pennies, finding a new apartment can be extremely stressful, no matter what the reason is for your move. To make things go as smoothly as possible, here are some things you’ll want to have as your start your search.
One of the most important things to have when you’re scouring the world, or just the neighborhood, looking for apartments is a budget. The rent on your apartment is something you will have to pay each month, on time and in full so you want to be absolutely sure that the place you find is within your price range. Sometimes you will tell a property manager your budget and they will still show you apartments that are above that price mark, trying to sell you on newer appliances or more square footage, but you should stand your ground. Before you even open that craigslist tab one time, you should know how much you can afford to pay for your new apartment
An Open Mind
At the same time that you’re holding your ground about your budget, you may be forced to keep an open mind and have some flexibility about some things. Sure, everyone wants to live in the very best neighborhood with gleaming fixtures and a jetsetting neighbor who is only home twice a year during New York Fashion Week (she’s also a supermodel) but for most of us, that isn’t entirely realistic. You may have your heart set on a well-established neighborhood, but when you open your mind to an up and coming ‘hood, you might actually end up with a better apartment! The same goes for square footage. Something that sounds tiny might actually be all the room you need and you might actually be happier if you get rid of some of that early ‘90s Pizza Hut memorabilia. Think about it!
A Pet Policy or Plan
If you have a pet or are hoping to get one in the next year, be sure you know the pet policy of any place you look at. The last thing you want is to find your dream apartment only to learn later that Chairman Meow won’t be welcome there.
Good Walking Shoes
The internet has made everything better (obviously, since without it you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now). This includes apartment hunting which can now be done largely online, from searching to applying to signing a lease online (we do that, we should know). However, not every landlord is hip to the internet and you might actually find some killer digs by hoofing it around the neighborhoods where you want to live. Plus this is a great way to figure out the best spots that you’ll be able to walk to from your new place. Craig knows a lot, but his list doesn’t have everything!
All Your Application Information
The unfortunate fact for you as a renter is that we’re currently dealing with a landlord’s market. This means that, depending on the city where you live or are moving to, you might face some stiff competition for the best apartments. So when you do go out to find your new place, be sure that you have all your application information with you so that, if you like it, you can apply on the spot and have a better chance of getting it. Usually this means not just your own contact info but employment history, paystubs and references. Not everyone requires the same information but keeping it handy will put you at an advantage.
Especially if you’re going to be sharing your new apartment, either with a spouse or a roommate, you should both agree on a list of dealbreakers before you go on the hunt. Maybe one of you can’t live more than 2 blocks from a karaoke bar while the other one absolutely must have a parking space for no less than 3 Vespas. Whatever it is, agree on them so that hopefully you can avoid some of the hemming and hawing associated with apartment hunting as a pair.
Hopefully this list will help you when you venture out into the big bad world of apartment hunting. We can’t find your apartment for you, but feel free to give us a call when you need help moving. What weekend? Oh, we can’t, we’re going to be out of town. Um…pizza convention? Yeah, sorry, really wish we could help.