When renting a new apartment, the interior is important, but you should never forget to take a good, long look on the outside before signing any contracts. Location can make, or break, your apartment renting experience.  Are you willing to sit in traffic to get to work? Do you have family you want to stay close to? Where is the nearest grocery store? All of these questions play an important role in deciding where you want to live next. Here are some things to consider:

The Commute
First things first, when apartment hunting you should decide how you will get to and from work. If you have a car and access to parking, you should decide on the maximum time and miles you are willing to drive each day and then choose the area. Unfortunately, you will experience rush hour traffic in most cities, so be sure you’re factoring it into your drive time. If you don’t have a car, or simply don’t want to deal with traffic, you have two choices: choose a location that’s walkable or — if walking isn’t really your thing — find an apartment with easy access to the city’s public transportation system.

The People
Moving to a new city or area can be stressful if you don’t have easy access to people you know. If you have friends already living in and loving an area, do some research and check it out! It will be a nice perk if you don’t have to drive to the other side of the city just to grab dinner and drinks with some friends. It’s also important not to forget your family. If you’re moving to an area where you have family members, it helps to be close and have them easily accessible for a visit or just in case of an emergency.

The Neighborhood Vibes
With groceries being a necessity, you should always make sure to check out where the nearest grocery store is, especially if you don’t have a car. And let’s be honest, none of us can survive without the occasional trip to Target. Finding an apartment near one is definitely a plus. Love working out? Find easy access to a gym. Can’t live a day without shopping? Check out the closest local malls. Have a furry friend? Make sure there’s a park or large, grassy area nearby.

Within each city there are always smaller areas that have their own personalities. Checking out shops, restaurants and bars that surround you can easily give away what living there could be like. Ensure you aren’t too far from the top-rated eateries if you know that you have a passion for food. If you’re not-so-secretly a socialite, make sure you’re at the center of the trendy bars. Knowing what you like to do after work and on the weekends can help determine the type of vibe you want to feel when you step out of your apartment.

The Space
The closer you get to the metro area of a city, the more you are going to have to pay per square foot. If being right next to the city center is a make or break quality, just keep in mind you may have to get that smaller studio apartment. Although living further away from the city may make for a longer commute, chances are you will be able to afford a little more space for entertaining guests.

There are various factors that play into apartment hunting, and location, location, location (so important you can’t just say it once) is a big one. These are just a few ideas and tips to keep in mind when deciding what location is the perfect fit for you.

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