Apartment Hunting Guide
Whether you’re moving out for the first time or been apartment hopping for a while, finding an apartment that will fit your needs can be a daunting task. If you choose the wrong one, you could literally have to live with your mistake. When you are looking for apartments, here are some things to remember.
Check your credit. Some landlords are more strict than others. Especially large apartment complexes are more likely to check your finances, your references and your credit. If you have bad credit, consider renting from a landlord with a few properties instead of a larger complex. They are more likely to work with bad credit.
Check your budget. There is a lot more than rent that goes into what you can afford. Your income should be at least 3 times what your rent payment is. Besides that, you should estimate what your other utilities and expenses are. If this apartment is further from work or school, budget your gas as well. Some apartment complexes have utilities included, free internet and/or free cable. These can save you some money, but they can also cost you extra in rent.
Be aware of hidden fees. $99 move in specials or free first months usually come with strings attached including high security deposits, pet deposits, administration fees and application fees. Make sure you are aware of what your total move in cost will be.
See the property in person. Some pictures can be deceptive. Property managers and landlords will use weird angles to make a small room look bigger or omit a nasty looking kitchen or bathroom to make the property look nicer. Never commit to an apartment without seeing it in person.
Write a list of what you want and need. Most people have a general idea of what they want to have in their apartment. But make sure you are aware of what apartments have and don’t have before you move in. If you already live in an apartment, you may ask yourself what it is you would change about the place you are already living in. If this is your first apartment, think about the ammenities you wouldn’t want to be without like dishwashers, pools and central air.
Check the neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to check neighborhood and school reports inthe area. Don’t just ask the landlord or property management company because they may not tell you the whole story. The best people to ask are other tenants to the property or the local police department.
You are the boss. When you are looking for an apartment, remember that if you don’t like the circumstances of a lease agreement, you can request that changes be made. If they don’t agree to changes, then you can refuse to sign. Most places, if they think you will be a good tenant, may make a concession or two to get you in.
In this economy, it’s more important than ever to look for a deal, but just make sure your dream deal doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare.