If it’s still early in your career, it can be tough to find suitable jobs in your city or town of choice. In fact, you may have to move out of your state for a new position to help boost your resume.
Apart from leaving behind friends and family, the toughest part of this process can be finding a place to live in a new state. Here are five quick tips to keep in mind when looking for an out-of-state apartment.
1. Know Your Priorities
This holds true when looking for an apartment in any city or state, but a good first step is to come up with a list of priorities or must-haves for your new apartment. This could include the price, the number of bedrooms and/or bathrooms and whether or not the apartment offers secure indoor parking.
One of your most important priorities should be the terms of the lease — especially the length. If possible, try to negotiate for a shorter lease so your options open back up quickly when you move to your new state.
2. Get an Early Start
When looking for an out-of-state apartment, the earlier you can begin your search, the better. There’s no such thing as starting an apartment search too early, but starting too late is definitely a thing.
It's ideal to start your search one to three months before you plan to make the move. Make a list of five or six apartments that look promising and, if possible, take a scouting trip to tour each one before you make a final decision.
3. Scour Property Management Sites
One often-overlooked strategy in searching for apartments is looking at sites run by property management companies. These companies often own more than one property, so it's a good way to help you find more options.
Also, when looking for apartments in a new state, you may come across a property that's just out of your price range. A visit to the property management company's website may offer some similar locations at friendlier prices.
Also, if you like the vibe of a property manager through emails or phone calls, it's worth looking at other properties they maintain.
4. Research Local Neighborhoods
One of the biggest challenges in moving to a new state is knowing the best neighborhoods to live in. If you've never visited your new city or state, it's tough to tell if a neighborhood is safe or offers the type of scene you're looking for.
Luckily, there are many ways to research individual cities and even specific neighborhoods in those cities. Websites such as Yelp or Foursquare can give you a good idea of neighborhoods from locals, and others such as StreetAdvisor offer detailed breakdowns of neighborhoods across the country.
5. Don't Expect Perfection
When moving out-of-state — especially if you don't have a chance to visit your new apartment before you move — it's best to have an open mind about it going in. Setting your expectations too high can lead to disappointment, while going in with a more realistic attitude can lead to a pleasant surprise.
This is where negotiating for a shorter lease can be key. If you don't end up liking your apartment or neighborhood, but only signed a three- or six-month lease, you can start searching for a new apartment almost immediately.
Conversely, if you sign a short lease but do happen to like your new place and neighborhood, it's very easy to extend your lease for a year or even longer. Property owners love tenants who are able to make long-term commitments.
Searching for an out-of-state apartment is a challenge, but these five tips are good places to start. It may be somewhat nerve-wracking, but it can also be very exciting — so don't be afraid to brace yourself and dive into your search.