To give you a quick overview of how apartment hunting could be, think this: it can even be worse than looking for a date on those swiping applications. For instance, New Yorkers are infamous for moving across the city frequently, earning them the title of “nomads.” The rest of America is following suit, unfortunately.
While your journey for love may take some to get right, oftentimes the prospect of finding an apartment is even more urgent. You simply have no time to wait for your fated love—your dream of finally owning a full-sized bathtub or a unit washer and dryer perhaps? There are other things to consider, too: location, price, and the condition of the entire space. Will you also be needing to allot some budget for a window replacement service in Salt Lake City?
Apartments will come and go, and some of them will always feel like the “right one.” Before you hand in your first month’s rent, however, here are some tips that you should consider. You are, after all, burning money.
Set your budget limit
It will happen. You’ll come across the apartment of your dreams, equipped with a spacious bedroom, beautiful window views, an updated kitchen, a full bath, and an excellent location. This can easily blind you, of course, making you overlook the rental price. Setting your budget limit early on is key, even before beginning your apartment hunt. This takes more than just settling on a price; sit down and think it over.
Figure out the amount you can afford per month, and place it side by side with your monthly salary. Don’t forget to include other expenses, too. You will need to spend on groceries, electricity, savings, water, and so much more. As soon as you’ve set your limit, go through only apartments that fall into that amount. This way, you’ll avoid the temptation of renting out an apartment way beyond what your budget can afford.
Consider getting a realtor to help you
Most urban markets have realtors playing huge roles in the real estate industry. The truth is that some of the best apartments aren’t listed on websites. They’re kept secret to the general public, and the only way to get access to them is through realtors.
While generally more expensive, realtors can help you reduce costs in the long run. You won’t have to waste time, money, and effort traveling to apartments that aren’t really a good fit. The realtor does most of the legwork for you, and all you need is to visit a curated list.
Consider the seasons
The question “when” you’re searching for an apartment plays a major role in your rent costs. During the summer months, rents increase, as people prefer to move out during the hours of warmth and sunshine. There will be more choices, too, but the chances of being ripped off are highly likely. If time and season aren’t an issue, perhaps your apartment hunting could be done from October to December, or perhaps from February to March.
Watch out for any red flags
You may be working on a really tight budget, but don’t be swayed by a property’s cheap price tag. Experts stress that checking out what’s included in the rent is a must. There’s a big chance that the bargain doesn’t include your gas or electricity, much less your water bills. If you have a car, is a parking slot included in the rent? If these aren’t included, you should determine your costs once more. If possible, also check out reviews online, too. Perhaps a previous tenant experienced bed bugs, and you would want to avoid that at all costs.
Remember to safeguard your deposit slip and keep the evidence at all costs
During a move-in, walk through the entire apartment and take photos of any imperfections: a peeling wall, a dinged floor, faulty or old appliances, and bathroom tiles that need changing. This way, your deposit never gets manipulated. Unfortunately, there are landlords out there that suddenly jack the prices up as soon as you settle on their place. Just keep everything documented, and you’ll be safe.
Apartment hunting can be chaotic and downright stress-inducing. But as with anything in life, planning is key. These tips will not make the apartment hunting process any faster. But having a strategy in mind ensures that your time, effort, and money will be put into good use.