During my exceedingly long search to find my very first apartment I found myself asking a LOT of people questions about what an apartment should have, should provide and what it should look like. Ultimately it came down to knowing what I wanted which came partly from practice and partly from knowing myself. Of course I had to know what I would or would not compromise on. It resulted in 10 takeaways from apartment hunting. Some are pretty obvious for the lot of us but hey, it was my first time. 😉
Figure out your needs and wants in your apartment
- This one could be tough, sometimes there are features you had not thought of or maybe you thought you needed a big apartment and you really didn’t (and could have saved some money). For instance never in my life had I owned a dishwasher. Now I don’t know how we functioned without one, I save so much time. No matter what your needs and wants, approach the process with an open mind.
Be realistic but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries
- What I mean is understand the market where you are looking, or know someone who knows it. This will be a part of helping you decided if you are getting a good buy.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal if you are dissatisfied with the offer. Maybe there is another similar apartment for a better price.
- Also if you are looking in an area with a good amount of colleges October is typically a good move in month if you have the luxury of time.
Don’t spend more then 1/3 of your income on an apartment.
- If you are totally cool with roommates this can sometimes give you more flexibility.
- Also if you want a more realistic view of your spending many banks now offer the ability to monitor your budget and see how much you are spending on what. Lastly keep in mind that 1/3 of your income means utilities as well.
If you are looking to move to a new area, get to know it.
- If you have the luxury of not living to far be sure to visit the area, get to know the locals, local shops and cafés can be good ways to get the scoop on the area.
- If you still aren’t sure or don’t live in the area look the area up. A lot of public statistical information is out there on the web typically accessible on government sites.
Know your locational needs
- Do you drive, do you prefer to walk around, do you prefer the country, town, city, how do you get to work if you need to commute. For me I picked a place close to the train and other public transportation because I was use to using it when I lived in the city. I chose a town that I could still walk to the store if I wanted to but down the road is all farms.
If at first you don’t find it, try, try again
- Unless you are on a time restraint don’t be deterred if the first apartment you visit isn’t “the one”. In fact if you don’t get that fuzzy feeling it’s probably better. This apartment will basically help you to determine some of the things you don’t want in an apartment or identify things you need. For instance the first apartment I visited had a wash/dry like I wanted however it was in the only closet the entire apartment had. At this point I realized I either needed closets or storage furniture. The very next apartment I visited had four closets, more then I could ever need.
Know how much time you’ll be spending in your apartment
- If you are someone who travels a lot and isn’t at their apartment much you likely wont require as large of an apartment, you may also be able to sacrifice a number of modern amenities to of course have more money for travel!
Pets & children
- For those without children or pets you might overlook the fact that your neighbor could have 2 dogs and a kid living in the apartment directly next to yours. This can result in a substantial amount of noise on a daily basis. If this is fine with you then all the merrier but if you are one for quiet, be aware of the surroundings.
- Also keep note of the apartment lease agreements. Do they allow cats, dogs, other animals? How many people to an apartment? If someone moves in with the maximum amount are you going to be okay with that?
- If you are the person with pets and children just be aware of your surroundings, are there a lot of elderly folk nearby? Will this particular apartment be the best location for you or is there another available in a more child/pet friendly part of the building or complex.