Apartment Hunting 101

Choosing an apartment – it can feel overwhelming, right? One place could have the modern appliances you like, but come with a high price tag. Or maybe the apartment is great, but the neighborhood isn’t where you picture yourself.

That’s where these tips come in. With a little research and a clear understanding of your needs and wants, you can find a home for the next phase of your dream pursuit. You’ll be loading up that moving truck in no time!

  1. Set your price: Have a defined budget going into your apartment search, and be honest with yourself on what you can really afford. A newly-updated apartment might tempt you to spend more than you can afford, but you don’t want to commit to a place that makes it hard to pay the bills each month. Also, you’ll want leftover funds to make your apartment uniquely yours!
  2. Amenities that fit: When comparing apartments, investigate the extras that are included – or not included ─ in the cost of rent. Maybe your ideal place includes heat, underground parking or cable and Wi-Fi. Perhaps it comes with an in-house gym that can save you the expenses of big gym membership fees. Balance the price of rent with amenities you need and find value in unexpected ways.    
  3. Balance Price with Happiness: Cheaper isn’t always better. Paying to live in a place you’re not happy with isn’t the best idea, no matter how much it saves you. Take time to thoroughly examine each place you go see. Does it let in enough light? Is the layout conducive to your lifestyle? Do you have enough space for all your belongings? Can you picture yourself living happily in this apartment and neighborhood? If not, continue your search. Your perfect place is out there!
  4. Review the lease:  Be sure you look over the lease before you sign on the dotted line. Is there anything that concerns you or goes against what was initially discussed? You’ll want to be fully informed before committing to avoid surprises down the line.
  5. Check on safety:  Safety is a big factor when it comes to a good living situation, so find out if the building has secure entrances. Have there been any reports of crime in the building? If shipments arrive for you, where are they held until you can pick them up? Part of protecting your dreams is protecting the little details, too.
  6. Location, location, location: Does the area around your apartment appeal to you? Is there green space for relaxing? A nearby coffee shop for morning pick-me-ups?  Is your daily commute going to fit your schedule?  Consider all of these factors about location and neighborhood to ensure your ideal living situation.
  7. Get to know the landlord. One of the greatest benefits to renting an apartment is that when something goes wrong, someone else will be there to handle the details. Make sure the maintenance crew at the building is responsive and able to make any needed repairs quickly so you’re no living in a compromised situation. Getting to know your landlord and the commitment they have to their residents is a good way of knowing how things will be handled going forward.

Once you’ve found the right place, you’ll be ready to kick-start new adventures and dream pursuits. But before you pack up the moving truck, it’s smart to think about renters insurance since your landlord’s insurance only covers your apartment building – not your stuff inside. Let your local American Family agent help you protect your laptop, bike, snowboard, TV, etc. Happy hunting!

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Related Topics: Renters