So many people use the internet to help in their search of the perfect apartment; however, if you are new to this you may not know where to begin. Here is what you would want to know in order to pursue an effective apartment search online.
Know What You Want
Using the internet to help search for a new apartment can cut your time in half, but it’s not a miracle worker. You will still need to have already thought about what it is you desire for your new apartment. This way you can eliminate some apartments that just aren’t offering what you want and limit your search to apartments that will off what you want.
Here are some helpful questions to help you in figuring out what it is you are looking for:
- Where is the ideal location for me to live?
- Do I want to live with a roommate or live alone?
- If I live alone how many bedrooms am I looking for?
- How many bathrooms do I need (not want)?
- Is the floor I am on a factor?
- What is my budget?
- What is my budget for utilities?
- What kind of amenities/features am I looking for in an apartment (W/D, pool, gym, granite countertops, etc.)?
Must Have versus Want to Have
There is a difference between needing 2 bathrooms and just wanting the convenience of having 2 bathrooms. How should you narrow down your search parameters to give you more choices?
-Start by picking your “musts”. Once you pick your “musts” if your search list is broad you are going to need to narrow the list down a bit. This is the role of your “wants”. For example if you a pool is a want and not a must, select to have a pool and see what that does to your search. Keep adding on your wants until you have found the perfect match for you. By prioritizing your “wants” and “musts”, you will know that in you search results you are getting everything you need and possible more, without having to sort through too many listings.
Use the Map Feature
One of the major benefits of searching for an apartment online is being able to see exactly where the apartment is located. If you already know a landmark that you want to be close to, this feature will enable you to see how far it is to and from this landmark. If you are unfamiliar with the city/town the map feature will help you to see what is near this apartment listing. Many apartment sites will show you where the apartment is on a map, then all you have to do is put your current address in and it will show you how to get there. This feature can help you if you want to be close to your work, stay in a particular school district, be near a bus route and much more!
Don’t Get Scammed
It is a lot easier for a landlord or someone posing as a landlord to scam you online than in person. Be careful with what websites you are decide to trust over the internet. Even if you are on a reputable apartment finding website there is a chance that someone who wants to scam you got their listing on that site. If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. If the application process feels wrong, they are asking you to do a credit check before you even see the apartment, or something just seems odd than it may be best to move on from this particular listing.
There are different steps to take before you move in, while you are living in, and after you move out of your apartment to take in order to ensure that you get your security deposit back.
Before Moving In:
- Make sure you read the lease thoroughly, including the fine print.
-While this may seem like common sense, some people skip over this.If you have any questions or concerns regarding the lease now is your time to ask.
-There should already be a list of items that have normal wear and tear or are damaged before you move in.
-If there isn’t, ask for one, and make sure you see it.
-Conduct an inspection of the apartment WITH your landlord before you move in.
-Take pictures of the apartment, so you know what it looks like when you are ready to move out.
While living in your Apartment
-Keep your apartment neat and clean. If you let it stay dirty, mold and mildew might become a long-term problem.
-Make sure you obey any of the rules that come with the apartment.
-For example, if you are allowed to paint, but have to paint back to original color before moving out.
-Keep a record of anything that you do to improve the apartment.
-Call the landlord immediately if anything breaks, gets damaged or starts acting strange.
-Get everything in writing.
- Any deals you make with you landlord make sure to get it in writing from him/her.
-Use the photos that you took before you moved in as your guide to leave the apartment exactly how you found it.
-Schedule a walk-through inspection with your landlord before you move out and hand in your keys.
-Leave nothing behind.
-Landlord will often find any way to charge you, and removal few is among the most common.
Moving into your first apartment can be super exciting! You want to bring everything and you definitely want to make sure you don’t forget anything. But, sometimes there is not room for all of your belongings, and a lot of times we forget the simple most important items to bring. Here is a list of the most important items to bring; you can get the rest as you go:
1. Bed. Buy yourself a decent size bed. Get rid of your twin bed or air mattress and treat yourself to a comfortable full or queen-sized bed (depending on the amount of space your bedroom offers).
2. Couch. Using the floor, card table or porch chairs as your living room furniture might seem like an okay idea to start, but they are uncomfortable and they definitely do not give off that homey feel. You can find inexpensive couches at many different home stores, and you will be so happy that you spent the money.
3. TV. Watching shows on your computer is definitely convenient, but do you really want to have to wait that extra couple of days to watch your favorite shows on the internet? If you plan on having guests over, do you really want to all be crowded around your small computer screen?
4. All purpose table and chairs. Eating on the floor is crappy. A table with chairs is a must. If there is not a lot of space in your apartment this table can play many different roles: dining table, desk, or even extra counter space for your kitchen.
5. Curtains. Do you really want to give your neighbors a front row seat to your life? Invest in curtains, they add texture and color to a room, allowing/not allowing light to come in, and give you the privacy you need so you are not your neighbors’ favorite show.
6. Lamps. Lightening in a room is key to setting the mood. Those fluorescent lights from the ceiling may give your room a yellowish tint and you a headache. Lamps are a good way for you to decide how much light you want in a room at any given time.
7. Smoke alarm and CO2 detector. Fires are devastating and CO2 is unhealthy. Your landlord is responsible for providing these, but it is your job to make sure that they are in your apartment.
8. Plates and Silverware. Homes do not use paper plates and plastic ware. They have pretty dishes, and silverware.
9. Cleaning Materials. Make sure you have all the supplies needed to clean up after yourself and disinfect in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living space. And now that you have those plates and silverware, you are going to want to need to clean them.
10. Stackable Storage Containers. Apartments are notorious for not offering a lot of storage space, so it is necessary for you to stay neat and organized. This well help you when finding places for your toiletries, video games, office supplies, bills, etc.
11. Shower Curtains. Water will get all over the floor if you do not have a shower liner and curtains make your bathroom homey.
12. Microwave. Sure you are excited to make some home-cooked meals, but lets be serious…sometimes you will need to make something on the run or you will just be to lazy too slow cook that roast.
There are more people than just you in the apartment hunting market, so you’re definitely going to have competition when it comes to getting approved for the perfect apartment. There are different steps you can take in order to be the one that your landlord picks to move in.
One of the first steps a landlord will take is conducting a credit report, so it is very important that you know your credit score. If you have excellent credit you can tell your landlord, and he will definitely be happy to hear that; he will still conduct the report but having a good credit score is one step closer to getting approved for your perfect apartment. If for some reason you do not have good or excellent credit, you can tell your landlord about this in advance, and then explain why you may not have the best credit. This way when the landlord goes to do the report, he won’t be in for any surprises.
Just like you need a resume when you apply for a job, it is a great idea to have a renting resume when applying for an apartment. On your resume you should include any past rental history to show that you have experienced paying rent before, and give your landlord a reference to contact. If this is your first apartment, you can put on there if you have fulfilled any leases, paid a friend to stay on the couch, or even paid your parents a little to stay at home.
When applying for an apartment you need more money than just enough to cover rent. There are other fees that will need to be paid even before you can call the apartment home. It is a good idea to make sure you have enough cash to pay for everything in the application process: application fees, deposit, credit check, pet deposit, parking permit, broker’s fees, and maybe even last month’s rent. Another tip dealing with money is to make sure you rent within your budget. You don’t want to go see apartments that you would be struggling to make ends meet and possibly not be able to afford your bills. Getting evicted from an apartment will definitely become a roadblock when trying to rent again.
Some minor steps you can take, that may seem like common sense are, to dress-to-impress. When you go to inspect at the apartment the landlord is “inspecting” you as well. Make sure you dress appropriately and professionally. This will give the landlord a great first impression of you. Do not be late. Landlords have a lot to do and may have more showings and appointments to make, so do not keep your landlord waiting make sure you are there about 5-10 minutes before your actually appointment time.
Make sure you are prepared for everything that comes with the apartment hunting process. The landlord does not have a lot of time to get-to-know you, so this first impression is going to be huge.