Apartment hunting can be a chore in itself, but the task becomes even more difficult when the apartments in your price range are long ways away. If you are planning a long-distance move to a different city or state, the internet will be your best friend in your search for your new apartment.
The first step to finding a new apartment for rent is to determine where you want to live and build a list of apartments that suit your needs. Consider using a website like MyApartmentMap.com to help you narrow down your search, weeding out properties outside of your price range or lacking the features you need. For instance, if your longer list contains properties that only have studio apartments but you need a one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or three-bedroom apartment, My Apartment Map can help you thin out the more undesirable rentals. This way, you can spend more time considering the apartments on your short list.
Next, make a list of all your resources. If you have friends or family living in the city you want to move to, ask them for their opinions regarding the properties on your short list. Have they heard bad things about that building? Is the neighborhood undesirable? Have they heard of any other apartment listings in the area that may be better options for you? Residents tend to have better ideas of what to expect, so ask around if you can. Friends and family can be your greatest resources.
Do as much research from a distance as you can. Look up the apartment buildings that caught your eye on Google or another search engine to find photos, videos, and floor plans from apartment rental websites. If the apartment complex has a website, browse to see if the apartment rentals they offer suit your needs. By looking for visual references before you travel to see potential apartment rentals yourself, you may discover that some properties do not have the room or exterior that you had hoped for.
If you are unsure about the neighborhood, use Google Streetview to get an idea of what you can expect. This can help you narrow down your short list even more. If you are moving with roommates, consider sharing important documents online as you go. Applications like Google Docs can help you share information collaboratively, usually pictures and cost of living information. This can help everyone involved in the move a suitable apartment in everyone’s price range.
At some point before your move, you will need to see the properties for yourself. Set aside a weekend and travel to your new city so that you can see all of the apartments on your short list with your own two eyes. Pictures and opinions from friends and family can be great resources, but you should trust your own judgment. Remember that this trip is not a vacation and plan accordingly. Call ahead and schedule tours for all of the apartment buildings and spend your time there asking questions. Get all the information you can because you may not have the opportunity to travel out again until moving day.
Preparation is the key to a long distance move. Do your homework, narrow your list, visit as many of the rentals as you can, and organize all your information. Building a plan of attack is important; never go in without a strategy. Know your budget, consider your roommates if you have them, weed out the undesirable rentals, and make time to see the apartments before you commit to signing a lease.