Looking for an apartment can be hard, especially when its your first time. After renting for the last three years here are 5 tips I've learned to help even the least experienced person glide through the apartment hunting process.
1. Set a budget
Take into account your monthly income and don't forget utilities, cable, trash services and any added extra costs. Be mindful of grocery shopping, possible gym memberships, really anything that would need to get paid monthly along with rent. Be realistic, everyone wants to live in the newly renovated apartments, but you also don't want to be struggling to make ends meet once you move in.
2. Pick an area
Make sure where you're going to live is safe, if you aren't familiar with the area ask around. You can also request police reports surrounding a specific neighborhood or apartment complex or research the zip code. Also drive by at night, it sounds funny but you'll get an idea of the noise level and any other activity that could be going on after dark.
3. Check prices
Sites such as Zillow/Apartment Finder are awesome, but make sure you check with the apartment complex/renters. Some prices can be different or change daily. Also make sure to ask about security deposits and any other expenses that may not be included on search engines.
4. Stock pile essentials
Start buying cleaning supplies/toilet paper etc before you move in. Getting into an apartment is expensive at first, with paying a security deposit and other one time expenses. Whatever you can buy ahead of time to lessen the blow helps.
5. Have a couple places in mind
Depending on when you're starting your search, certain apartments might not know exactly how many units will be available when you're looking to move in. Keeping a couple places in mind ensures that you won't be stuck last minute saying yes to an apartment out of your budget because the place you fell in love with fell through.