Apartment Hunting Tips

Once you've decided to rent an apartment, the actual process can be very overwhelming for many future renters. Many times there is such an abundance of options, features and amenities to attract people that it makes the decision-making process so much more difficult for them.

However, there are some tips which can help to ease the process of apartment hunting. The process of finding the perfect one for you can be broken down into these three simple steps.
The first step is to set a budget...know what you will be able to afford!

  • Next, compile all of your options and amenities, and then do some comparison shopping to determine which apartment is the best choice.
  • Understand the contract/lease agreement.
  • Now, let's go over each one of these in more detail!

    Coming Up With A Budget

    For many renters the most important consideration is how much they are willing to spend on rent each month. At the very least, before you begin your search you should establish a budget to determine what you will be able to afford. To help you come up with a budget for renting a place to live you should consider your income and subtract all of your monthly expenses from that amount. Monthly expenses should include all bills which are paid regularly as well as money spent on food, entertainment and miscellaneous items each month. Remember when planning your budget to allow for some money to be set aside as savings for unforeseen expenses or emergencies. Once you have determined the total amount of your monthly expenses, you can then establish the amount that you will be able to afford for monthly rent. Once this amount is established, you will have a better understanding of the type of apartment you can afford and go from there.

    Research Properties and Compare

    Once a budget has been established, one can start searching the properties that are in line with their established budget. It is likely to consider properties which are slightly above the range as well as properties which are slightly below the range. Doing this will allow the future tenant an opportunity to determine the option of leasing a more expensive property, or negotiating a lower price on the unit they are offering to you.

    When you first start your search for an apartment you don't need to visit each location. Most of the pricing information can be obtained from calling them, checking online websites, rental magazines, and local newspapers. Since pricing is the primary concern at this point, the initial search will help the renter to eliminate complexes that are too far out of their structured budget.

    Once you've been able to eliminate the ones that are over your budget, you can then concentrate on looking at the properties that do fall within budget. Once you have a list of the complexes that you can afford, it is time to preview the properties. Once you have visited them you will be able to determine the quality and compare all of the available amenities.

    Consider your own personal situation! If you're a senior citizen, for example, then you may want a complex that caters to the older tenants. Or perhaps you're a single mother? In this case, you may find a complex that offers daycare for your after-schooler to be a real benefit. Some complexes will have pools and gyms, while others offer the various other amenities. Decide which ones are most important to you and fit your lifestyle best. That one very appealing benefit may become the deciding factor between your choices of complexes.

    Looking at various units will give you an idea of the sizes and prices that will be available to you in each market area. Having this knowledge may be to your benefit when it comes time to negotiate the rent for the apartment. Generally, the more that are vacant or available for lease in the area the more likely the leasing agent will have flexibility in negotiating the contract. Sometimes it may come as a free month's rent or even possibly a reduction on your monthly rent. Always bargain for the best deal that can be made to you.

    Understand the Contract

    Know what the terms are of the lease contract, Do not sign a contract with out reading it. Understand the terms such as the length of the lease and when each monthly payment is due. Is there a grace period for a late payment? If you pay six months in advance will you receive a price break? Are the utilities part of the lease price? How much notification will you need to give when you are ready to terminate the lease? Are pets allowed, if so is there an additional deposit fee? Who will have access to your apartment once you have leased it? Before you sign the papers you need to walk through the apartment with the leasing agent to inspect for damage left from the tenant before you. You do not want to pay to repair a wall that you didn't damage. Write down all damage or repairs that are needed and attach it to the lease. Have it put into writing when the complex will get the needed repairs taken care of.

    Choose the apartment that offers the best location and view; it's much nicer to overlook the pool than it is to overlook the garbage dumpster. Finding the ideal apartment for you to live in can be relatively easy and hassle free. Take your time! Find a good location and a clean complex. Soon you'll be enjoying your new apartment!



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