Apartment hunting is an art–particularly in a city with low rental vacancy rates. However, just because you feel pressure to find the perfect new apartment ASAP (maybe the end of your lease is rapidly approaching) doesn’t mean you need to say “yes” to the first one you come across. There are many things to consider when choosing an apartment because, after all, no one wants to pick up and move every year. Before moving, consider these factors to make sure you and your new abode are the perfect match.
Do You Like the Neighborhood?
Of course it’s important that you like the interior of the apartment, but being a fan of the surrounding neighborhood is just as critical. Are there shops and cafes you can visit? Is the neighborhood primarily residential, or is there a lot of nightlife? Think about the amenities you want to have easy access to, and narrow your apartment search to neighborhoods that fit the bill.
Is the Apartment Affordable?
Before you even begin the apartment hunting process, decide what you can afford. Conventional wisdom dictates that you should only spend one third of your monthly income (or, ideally, less than that) on rent. If that significantly limits your options, consider finding a roommate so you can afford to live in a nicer apartment.
What is the Landlord’s Reputation?
When you’re touring apartments, you’re probably busy paying attention to things like the amenities they have and how spacious they are, but it’s also important to interact with the landlord. Why, you ask? Having a bad landlord can make for a terrible living situation, even if you love your new digs. Talk to them to gauge their personality. Ask questions about issues that are important to you, like who is in charge of maintenance.
Does it Cover Your Must-Haves?
If you’re on a budget, it’s unlikely that you’re going to find an apartment that’s absolutely perfect, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your must-haves! When apartment hunting, bring along a checklist that lists things you absolutely must have in your new apartment (perhaps on-site laundry is really important to you). This will help narrow your search and save you time.
Is the Building Safe?
Safety should be near the top of your list when apartment hunting, but it’s something many people forget to consider. Do some research about the crime rates in the neighborhood, and ask the landlord about safety measures taken in the building. Does the front door lock? Are there smoke detectors on every floor? How often are they checked? Does anyone have access to the building besides the tenants? Make sure you’ll feel safe in your new apartment before signing a lease.
What’s the Pet Policy?
If you have a furry friend, you’ll need to make sure any apartments you visit allow pets. There’s no sense wasting time during your apartment hunting expedition looking at buildings that have a no-pet policy!