Apartment Hunting 101

If you are in the market for a new home or apartment, the search for a new place can be daunting. There are different types of homes and apartments available, and finding the right one can be a full-time job. Arm yourself with a few helpful tips on how to find the best apartment to suit your needs.

apartment hunting guide

Rental Home or Apartment Building

The first step in finding an apartment is to decide on your living style. Rental homes appeal to a certain type of renter, while apartments and townhomes appeal to another. If you are moving with a family or small children, you may enjoy the added space that rental homes bring. Many families seek out homes with basements and backyards that they treat as a permanent living arrangement.

New graduates, single adults and couples may enjoy the carefree living of apartment buildings. They enjoy not having to worry about trash collection, shoveling snow or maintaining a lawn. Apartments in buildings are often less expensive than rental homes.

Town homes combine the best features of both homes and apartments, and are often the choice of families that are leasing their first rental property. With town homes, you don’t have to listen to your neighbor upstairs blast music all night or smell other people’s food cooking. You also get the conveniences of a small home—a yard or a patio and often a washer and dryer.

Do a Drive By

Drive by the neighborhood before you sign a lease on your new space. Many landlords will offer you a tour on a Sunday morning when all is quiet and peaceful. Drive by at different times of day to get a feel of the neighborhood. If the rental is near a major highway, there may be excess traffic on the roads during rush hour, making it difficult for you to get home. There may be rowdy teenagers hanging around after school or a church nearby with a loud bell that rings at exactly six o’clock every morning. Make sure the rental is not in a flood area, which could destroy the contents of your new home.

Know the Terms

Read your new lease thoroughly to get a sense of what your obligations are as a renter. Figure out whether you will be able to bring your dog or cat, or if you can grill on your balcony. Your complex may restrict visitors or charge for parking. Know the terms of your lease before you sign it.

Looking for an apartment can be hard, but having information makes the process easier. By finding a rental that matches your lifestyle, getting to know the neighborhood and knowing the terms of the lease, you will be assured you won’t be stuck in the wrong rental.

Image by Seth Tisue and licensed through Creative Commons.

Paul Benjamin works at EZ Storage a self storage company providing commercial and residential storage for over 40 years.

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