If one of your top priorities for 2011 is finding a new apartment, you no doubt want to accomplish your goal in as little time and with as little stress as possible. Whether you’ve been looking for a while or you’re planning to start your search now that the holiday season is over, here are five tips to help you find a great apartment:
- Determine what you want. You don’t want just any apartment, but one that’s right for you. This means you should think about what you want and then design a search around those parameters.
Most apartment hunters begin their search knowing how many bedrooms they want. But what about bathrooms? If you think you need two, have you considered whether one-and-a-half bathrooms would work? (If it would, giving up the half-bathroom could save you money in rent.)
Aside from basic considerations such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, take a moment to decide what other features are important to you. For instance, if you don’t own a dog, you might not care if a building is pet-friendly. On the other hand, you might want the flexibility of knowing you can get a dog later on. Already knowing what you want means not having to waste time visiting apartments that won’t fit the bill.
- Know how flexible you can be. Landlords may offer tenants different rental options, and you need to know what you feel comfortable with before you commit to anything. For instance, you might agree to a two-year lease so you can lock in a good rental rate. Or, if your goal is to rent an apartment for a year and then look to buy, a one-year lease is probably your best bet. However, if you’re concerned you may need to relocate because of a job you might want to find a landlord who’s open to a shorter term or offers a transfer clauses.
- Answer the roommate question. Living with roommates is an important decision to consider. Roommates can provide needed companionship and make your apartment living more affordable by splitting expenses but they are not for everyone. Before asking someone to room, weigh the pros and cons carefully. Apartment complexes almost always require everyone to be on the lease and therefore you are all held responsible.
- Anticipate the finances. It’s not enough to find an apartment you love; you must also be able to afford it. The biggest expense you’ll face is the monthly rent, but you must also be prepared to pay for utilities, security deposit, and other expenses. Keep in mind that most apartment communities require you to make at least 3 times the monthly rent to qualify. You may also qualify under a savings account.
- Take your search online. The Web has a wealth of resources for apartment hunters, including sites that let you search for apartments in the area you want at no charge. However, for even more personal assistance, let RentFAST, a FREE apartment locating service in Ann Arbor do it all for you! Just call Jennifer Fry at 734-669-5937 with your wish list, set your price range, bedroom size, pet preference, and more (remember Tip #1?) and you will be on your way to finding the perfect apartment!