We all know that moving from one home to another is a stressful process. Finding your new home may take time since you want to make sure the necessary due diligence has been completed in order to find your ideal place.
While conducting your apartment search, you don’t want to get fooled into renting the wrong place. Renting something out of budget, or that doesn’t meet your must-haves, is not a great way to start out in a new home – it will cause more worry and money down the line. It’s going to require work on your part, but the search tips below will help you get into the apartment that meets both your needs and desires. That way, you can cross out the no-gos and find the home that’s right for you.
Tip One: Your new place should check all the boxes.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of finding the perfect apartment that has all the bells and whistles. Before you jump to signing the lease, make sure that the apartment rent is one you’re comfortable paying every month.
Vice versa, if you’re touring rentals that don’t give you that sense of being “at-home” or a good feeling in general, move on. You can inform the landlord or agent of your concerns, but go with your initial impression. You want to feel comfortable and love where you live – and if you don’t – it’s okay to continue looking.
Tip Two: Research is key. If a home seems too good to be true, it is.
Research is key when seeking out a new home. It’s important as a renter to research everything from the school system, neighborhood, apartment community, and the average rental rates in the area.
If you find an apartment that piques your interest but the price seems off, go with your gut feeling. It’s likely a scam and should be reported to the apartment site you’re using so it can be removed quickly.
Tip Three: Pet-friendly doesn’t always mean that all pets are allowed.
Whether you have a fur baby of your own or are considering pet adoption once you’re settled into your new place, remember that “pet-friendly” doesn’t always mean that all pets are allowed. You may come across some communities that prohibit reptiles and birds, demand dogs and cats to be under a certain weight, or run into a list of banned breeds among others.
If you’re adamant on bringing a pet into your home, ask the landlord to go over the pet policy with you and follow up with questions of your own. Say you have a greyhound and find a community that allows dogs but has a low weight requirement; continue looking for a community that can accommodate.
Tip Four: Uncover those hidden costs that might be lurking in the lease.
So you found an apartment you love (yay!) that checks all the boxes. Before you sign on the line, make sure you are fully aware of any additional fees you are responsible for during your lease. Below are some costs that are often overlooked:
- Pet fees or rents
- Laundry fees
- Sewer/trash and water fee
- Parking fee
- Storage fee
These fees and additional rents are typically paid monthly, depending on the terms of the lease. Any additional costs can easily rocket your comfortable rent to unaffordable and out of budget, so keep this in mind when touring.
For example, communities in large cities might have limited parking, so renters may have to rent a parking spot or pay an additional fee to use the garage. Keep in mind that some apartments with laundry facilities may have coin-laundry machines, and you will need to bring change with you every time you wash your clothes and linens.
Tip Five: It is okay to nose around in your potential apartment.
Don’t be shy – start testing the water pressure and peek inside the closets and cabinets. When you do, take note of the water pressure, water color, and any openings or signs of mold inside the closets and cabinets. If you spot something, alert the landlord immediately so they can address the issue. The last thing you want is to move in and then discover the problem.
Also, look for signs of repair or cover up that relates to mold, leaking pipes, etc. If something is done incorrectly, or it’s just shoddy work, speak up and voice your concern. If it isn’t fixed properly after saying something, continue looking.
The search for a new home requires a lot of preparation and planning. When it comes to finding the right one, Apartments.com has all the search functions and filters you need to narrow down the selection to only the best ones! From dog- and cat-friendly rentals to utilities included and home styles, budget and more – you can easily find the one that fits your budget and checks off every box.