Finding an apartment in a tight market is hard. Especially in winter months when people aren’t moving much. Use these tips to get yourself organized to find the perfect apartment.
- Determine your budget. According to experts, your rent should be no more than 30% of your monthly income. So if you bring home $3000 each month, your rent should be around $1000. IF you bring home $1000, your rent should be no more than $350.
- Think about Utilities. Often, rent includes utilities—in that case, you can spend more on your housing budget. If paying bills is a concern, look for rents that include free heat or water and trash utilities.
- Start looking early. You will have more choices and information, if you start looking a month or so in advance.
- Consider all the factors. Instead of just focusing on price, think about other issues. How convenient is your location to work or school? Is the neighborhood safe? Is there laundry facilities in the apartment or building?
- Prepare your documents. Your new landlord will want to see your driver’s license, pay stubs, references, proof of employment, etc. Have these items ready to get the process going.
- Gather your downpayment. Most landlords are going to require a month’s rent upfront and deposit equal to one month. Start putting aside money so you can meet this requirement.
- Do a walkthrough. Sometimes it is inevitable and you have to rent a place sight unseen. But if at all possible, view the place. You will be signing an ‘as is’ lease and you want to be aware of all issues. Look for smoke detectors, HVAC issues, appliances, etc.
- Sign the lease. Make sure you read through your lease. If you have questions, talk to your landlord. Now is the time to get clarification and make any changes that are necessary.
A little up-front prep can make the apartment finding process easier. Good luck!