Are you hunting for a new apartment?
If so, you’re in good company. Over 100 million Americans rent their homes, and the number is climbing every year.
Whether you’re a college student looking for your first place or you’re in a transitional phase of your life, apartment hunting can be fun–or it can be stressful.
Some compare apartment hunting to going on a first date. Will you fall in love at first sight, or will you quickly move on to the next option?
To make the process easier, bring this apartment hunting checklist with you when you being your search. Then you’re sure to find the perfect place for you!
1. Gather What You Need First
Before you head out the door, make sure you have the things you’ll need if you find your dream place.
These should include:
- Driver’s license, passport, or another form of ID
- Recent pay stubs or W-2 forms
- Recent bank statements
- Social security card/number
- Rental history and contact info for previous landlords
- Personal or professional references
- Checkbook or credit card for the application fee
With increasing competition in the rental market, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Bring everything with you so you don’t potentially lose out on a great find.
2. Start with the Numbers
You’ve already worked your budget and know what you can (and can’t afford). The first questions to ask when renting an apartment should cover all fees and costs.
These might include:
- How long is the lease term?
- What are the income requirements?
- How much is the security deposit?
- What’s the total amount needed to move in?
- Are there extra fees for parking or pets?
- Are utilities included? If not, how much do they average?
- Does the landlord require renter’s insurance?
The answers to these questions will confirm whether you can afford the apartment–before you fall in love with it.
3. Focus on the Details
Once you’ve crunched the numbers and found it’s within your budget, it’s time to consider the details.
Be sure to find out if the following are included (or if there’s an extra fee):
- Pet fees
- Laundry facilities
- Guest policy
- High-speed internet
- Garbage removal
- Other appliances
If in doubt, ask! It’s better to know what you’re getting into than be surprised after you’ve signed a lease.
What’s the Neighborhood Like?
Your final consideration is the neighboorhood and surrounding areas. Consider the following:
- Are there security measures in place (gated community, good lighting)?
- Does the property feature a pool, gym, business center, or other amenities?
- How quiet (or noisy) is the unit, building, and parking lot?
- How close are you to public transportation, grocery stores, or shopping malls?
Your personal preferences may vary, but be sure to consider the surrounding area in addition to the apartment itself.
Happy Apartment Hunting!
With the right mindset, apartment hunting can be an exciting process.
When you’re ready to begin the hunt, keep this checklist handy. The right apartment in the right neighborhood is just waiting to be discovered!
Want to be even more prepared for your search? Check out our list of questions to ask during your apartment tour.