Moving can be a great way to get a fresh start in a new environment. But it can also be daunting, with some experts claiming that a move is one of the most stressful situations in life.
Finding a new place to live doesn’t have to be hard.
Keep reading for five apartment hunting tips that’ll take the stress out of your search.
1. Start the Apartment Hunting Process Early
Don’t wait until the week before your current lease is up to look for a new place to live. The more time you give yourself when looking for a new home, the more time you’ll have to make an educated, well-reasoned decision.
Start your search at least two months before your lease expires to give yourself extra breathing room.
Between touring apartments, acquiring paperwork, finalizing details, and saving up for moving costs, extra time is a godsend.
2. Don’t Rely on Websites Alone
Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to check out local apartment complexes. Sites like Norhart make it possible to discover the best local apartments at your leisure.
But don’t take everything you see online as gospel.
At the end of the day, these sites are still promotional tools. Complexes often hire professional photographers to shoot their apartments in the best possible lighting from the best possible angle.
Nothing can beat in-person experience. Never sign a lease unless you’ve visited the complex personally.
3. Ask about Move-in Specials
As the old saying goes, ask and you shall receive.
You’ll have to fork over some cash before you even step foot into your new place. But you don’t have to go broke before your first month’s rent is due.
When visiting your soon-to-be home in person, be sure to ask about any move-in specials to shave off some of those extra expenses.
Though there’s no guarantee that a complex will offer a promotional rate, it never hurts to ask.
4. Speak with Residents
It can be tough to know what living in an area is like without spending time there.
Meanwhile, your leasing agent will do everything in their power to get you to sign a lease on the spot.
To get a real feel for the area, survey the complex before meeting with an agent.
You’ll want to chat up the residents as well. Tell them that you’re considering moving in, but want an honest opinion first.
Most people are more than happy to provide honest feedback. Asking is a great way to learn about issues with management, pest control problems, or local crime rates.
5. Set a Budget
These apartment hunting tips are great, but they won’t mean much if you can’t afford your new home. That’s why it’s always wise to establish a budget before starting your search.
Remember, you’ll need to pay for more than rent. You’re responsible for utilities, renter’s insurance, groceries, cable, Internet, and more.
These expenses can add up if you’re not careful, so make sure you’re living within your means.
Also, you’ll likely need to put down a deposit when you sign your lease. The specifics of the deposit vary, but it isn’t uncommon for complexes to ask for first and last month’s rent in advance.
Finally, account for moving expenses. Moving can cost quite a lot, especially if you’re hiring movers. And that’s just if you’re local – an international move can cost even more.
Find Your Dream Home
Apartment hunting can be a frustrating chore. But with these tips in tow and enough time, you’ll find the apartment of your dreams soon enough.
Don’t forget, apartments aren’t your only option. Check out our thoughts on what’s in store for the real estate market this year.