5 Strategic Tips to Make Your Apartment Hunt Easier This Year

With a new year now here, you may feel the urge to start updating your current lifestyle – new jobs, fitness habits, hairstyles, etc. For many, that also includes moving out. 

Finding the perfect apartment can be challenging and maybe a bit frustrating if you’re unprepared. Whether it’s been a few years since the last time you moved or this hunt will be for your very first apartment, there are a variety of ways you can make the process a lot more fun and less stressful. 

Here are five things to consider as you prepare to hunt for your brand-new apartment home in this brand-new year:

1. Figure out the best time to sign a lease: When you decide to sign a lease can be a vital part of the apartment hunt. If you’re in control of your move-in date, you can use that to your advantage. Forbes suggests that signing a lease at certain times of the year could be beneficial for you financially. Depending on what city you are in, what the competition looks like and a number of other factors, some communities may offer specials or additional incentives. So, your “New Year, New Me” mantra will fit perfectly into your apartment hunting strategy.

2. Set your budget: Setting a budget on anticipated rent seems like an obvious tip, but did you know there are multiple ways you can determine how much you spend? Rather than guesstimating, some experts recommend the 30% rule, which dictates that you should spend no more than 30% of your annual income on rent. Alternatively, there is the 50/30/20 guideline. This suggests you should spend 50% of your paycheck on rent, utilities and transportation; 30% on day-to-day expenses and 20% on savings and financial goals. Whether you do a mix of strategies, follow them exactly or make your own, be sure you’ve determined your budget before you begin your search.

3. Check out the neighborhood and the community: When moving to a new apartment, you should take some time to look into the neighborhood. This means not just exploring down the street but also checking out the general area surrounding the apartment. Visit the local grocery store and farmers market or spend an afternoon in the park to help you get a feel for the community. You should also check Google Maps and see how far your favorite destinations are and review the nearby points of interests. The last thing you want to do is move into a new neighborhood and realize your favorite shopping centers and restaurants are too far away.

4. Ask your friends and extended network: Know someone who currently lives or has once lived in the area you’re interested in? Often, the best insight comes from the people who have experienced it firsthand. Spend some time talking to friends, coworkers and your extended network to get an insider’s perspective. Getting information from people you trust can ease your state-of-mind and, in some cases, an apartment may offer a referral program so both of you can benefit from the move. 

5. Ask Questions: When you’re visiting apartment communities, make sure you think about what your priorities are and whether they meet those needs. If you have a dog or cat, ask specifics about the pet policy. If you regularly like to have guests over, ask about how visitor parking works. The more questions you ask, the more information you are equipped with, and that makes the decision-making process easier. Asking questions also helps you get to know the apartment management team better. 

Other questions you may want to consider:

  • What are the available lease terms?
  • What are the income requirements?
  • Are guarantors allowed?
  • Is there reserved parking?
  • What’s non-reserved parking like?
  • Are there storage units available?
  • Is renter’s insurance required?
  • What is security like after office hours? 

Now is the perfect time to start looking for a new apartment home. Don’t forget to do physical and online research to make your hunt that much easier. Greystar offers a convenient apartment search engine that lets you explore the city of your choosing and its various neighborhoods. Happy apartment hunting! 

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