From considering the cost of rent and deposits to determining the right size and location, searching for the ideal apartment is often a tough job. Below, we’ve captured some of the most important factors to aid the search for your next apartment.
Location, Location, Location
Most apartment hunters, rightfully, place a high value on location. When weighing your location options, think about:
- Distance from your work: How long will it take you to commute from your apartment to work? Are there mass transit options nearby?
- Easy access to grocery stores and other shopping: Avoid traveling long distances for shopping needs when you find an apartment close to a grocery store or mall.
- Schools: For those with children, consider school options, ratings and bus stop locations.
- Proximity to urgent care or hospitals: In the event of an emergency, you will want to be close to a hospital or other urgent care facility.
- Distance to major highways: Are you close enough to a major highway to conveniently access it yet far enough away to avoid the noise?
Does the Size and Layout of the Apartment Meet Your Needs?
Another important consideration is the size and layout of the apartments on your list. Be sure to measure the dimensions of your furniture ahead of time to ensure that it will all fit in the new apartment. Also, when thinking about size, it helps to weigh federal guidelines which limit occupancy to two heads per bedroom.
In addition to the apartment’s size, you should weigh a wide range of layout options. For example, in a two-bedroom apartment, you may want both bedrooms accessible directly from the living room to avoid having a guest walk through one bedroom to reach another. Additionally, for one-bedroom apartments, you may want to consider layouts which offer bathroom access for guests which does not require them to walk through the bedroom to reach it.
Be Sure to Ask About the Cost of Fees, Deposits and Rent Requirements
When meeting with a property manager, ask for specific information concerning fees, deposits and rent requirements:
- Application and administration fees: Does the property manager charge an application fee or an administrative fee to assess your credit to see if you qualify to rent the apartment?
- Security and pet deposits: Prepare to pay a security deposit equal to one to two months’ of the cost of your rent. If you plan to bring pets into the apartment, you will likely need to pay an additional pet deposit, and maybe even higher monthly rent, to help cover the costs of wear and tear, and damages.
- Rent requirements: What day of the month is the rent due? What are the late fees? Will the property manager accept an automatic account transfer for the funds or do you need to pay via check?
How Attentive Is the Property Manager?
It is also helpful to gauge the level of service the property management staff offers. What happens if your heating goes out or your toilets clog in the middle of the night? How soon will your property management team respond? Be sure to do your homework by asking other tenants in the area or by searching online for reviews about the property management company.
Determine Which Features Are Most Important to You — Make a Wish List
With so many factors to consider, it helps to start by making a list of which features are the most important to you. Then prioritize them to help acknowledge the fact that it may be impossible to locate the perfect apartment that has everything you want. Which factors are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves? This list may help you narrow your search and aid in making your final decision. Happy hunting!