December 31st, 2018
Finding the right apartment means finding the one that’s right for you. And there’s no apartment guide you can buy off the shelf to tell you what that is. The best apartment guide is a clear picture of your own priorities, so ask yourself these questions to figure out what they are.
Online rent calculators are great tools for analyzing your finances. This is one good one. But try others as well to calibrate your findings. Go through your last year’s financial records to see whether there are things the calculators might not have asked about. Do you have a variable income, or are you saving for something unusual? And how large or small of a safety margin makes you comfortable? The budget you commit to in your apartment guide, whatever it is, should be the one that leaves you feeling free from any ongoing worry about money.
Anything you can do to reduce travel times to the places you go regularly pays huge dividends to your quality of life. Work, school, recreation, friends and family, routine errands—everything seems easier when the things you need and want to do are close by. Build a map for your apartment guide that identifies those places and works out from the most central point.
It’s natural to want a large apartment. But how much space do you really need? Would offsite storage solve some of your crowding problems more cheaply than renting a larger apartment? Or do you get a better apartment if you’re open to taking in roommates? Your apartment guide should help you target your search to only those apartments that have exactly the number of bedrooms you need and should help you see what kind of closet and storage space is reasonable.
Apartment amenities are not extras that get thrown in for free. The more amenities an apartment complex offers, the higher the rent. So you want to be sure about what’s really important to you. Your apartment guide should keep you focused on the amenities that mean the most to you, and keep you from being distracted by extras you’ll never end up never using.
As you narrow down your list of candidates, look for signs of good management in the complexes your apartment guide has led you to. Make sure that everything you can see—landscape, buildings, equipment in the fitness center, barbecue grills, etc.—is in good repair. Check customer ratings online to make sure there isn’t a pattern of tenant complaints. Ask current residents about their experiences.
With your custom apartment guide in hand, you can focus your search on the best possible places and then feel free to follow your heart to the one you love.