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Apartment Hunting: Everything You Need to Know

Sep 13, 2022

everything you need to know about apartment hunting

Hunting for an apartment can be an overwhelming process, no matter how many times you have – or haven’t – done it before. But although you might be tempted to “get it over with,” taking the time to find the perfect place is definitely worth it.

Even if you’re working with a limited time frame, the right approach makes all the difference. Whether you’re searching for your very first place or are upgrading to a luxury residence, these apartment hunting tips will come in handy.

Determine Your Budget

Before considering your options, figure out how much rent you can afford monthly. Set a budget, and then stick to it.

Some key considerations for establishing your apartment budget include:

  • Is parking and/or utilities included in the monthly rent? What about the internet, cable, and other essentials? If not, how much can you set aside for these expenses with your rent budget in mind?
  • Do any of the communities you are considering charge hidden fees? It’s too common for new residents to be surprised by unexpected costs, so look for a community that provides complete, upfront transparency.
  • Are you prepared to pay for higher seasonal expenses, such as air conditioning costs during the summer and heat during the winter? Ensure your budget allows enough “wiggle room” for these ups and downs.
  • How much money do you have available for a security deposit, the first month of rent, and other move-in costs?

Create a List of “Non-Negotiables”

Your non-negotiables are specific characteristics and features that you should not compromise. It’s important to know precisely what these are – so that you can easily confirm whether or not a potential property meets your requirements.

Your basic non-negotiables might include:

  • Location
  • Square footage
  • A certain number of bedrooms/bathrooms
  • Pets allowed
  • Outdoor space

Additionally, you might have other, more specific requirements, such as:

  • Upgraded kitchen appliances
  • Washer and dryer in the home
  • Storage space
  • Parking
  • Air conditioning
  • Natural light
  • Designer finishes

Each person will have their own unique checklist of non-negotiables, so make yours as specific or general as you want.

Remember the Importance of Location

You might not have a specific area in mind, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the neighborhood carefully. You might find the perfect apartment, but your quality of life is bound to suffer if you’re far away from your job, favorite restaurants, and other important places.

When you’re assessing the location of a rental community, look closely at aspects like:

  • Commute time
  • Safety
  • Public transit (if needed)
  • Traffic
  • Nearby restaurants, stores, parks, and other amenities

Ideally, your new neighborhood will suit your preferred lifestyle. For example, search for apartments near your favorite hot spots if you enjoy late nights out on the town. Or, if you want a family-friendly location, look for communities in quieter, less busy areas.

Get Organized

Now, you have a precise idea of what you’re looking for – but it’s not quite time to start touring properties. Set yourself up for a more straightforward and less stressful search by getting yourself organized.

We recommend having a central place, like a spreadsheet, where you can keep and compare all your options. That way, you won’t get lost in many website links and listings and can easily see the different properties side-by-side. This will also make it much simpler to rule out certain places and pinpoint your favorites.

Be Prepared With Questions

Once you start touring different apartments, learning as much as possible about each one is important. However, it’s often tricky to come up with crucial questions when you’re put on the spot.

So, arm yourself with a list of questions that address all the necessary details (keeping a list on your phone makes it easy to access).

On your list, include questions about:

  • Which utilities are/are not included in the lease/monthly rent
  • The average cost of utilities
  • Pet policies
  • Parking
  • Access to shared amenities and community spaces
  • Types/lengths of leases available
  • Consequences of breaking a lease

Take Photos (and Make Mental Notes) to Capture All the Details

After you’ve looked at a few apartments, they can start to blur together. But taking photos (or even written notes) can be hugely helpful. That way, you can be confident that you won’t forget important details.

Make sure you’re paying close attention to each apartment, and use your camera to document things such as:

  • Potential issues or needed repairs
  • Your favorite aspects of an apartment
  • Placement of lighting, windows, and other design elements
  • Cabinet, countertop, and flooring colors

Not only can these details help you make your decision, but they can also be helpful when you’re planning your move.

Read the Lease in Its Entirety

Not all lease agreements are created equally, so you should closely review yours before submitting an application or signing any kind of contract. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is anything you’re unsure about.

Keep in mind:

  • How long is the lease term? (1 year, 2 years, etc.)
  • What happens if you have to break your lease?
  • What are the repercussions of late rent payment (and what is considered “late”)?
  • What lease termination rights does the property owner/manager have?

Have Your Application Materials On Hand

Depending on the real estate market in your area, great apartments can often go exceptionally quickly. Knowing this, it’s wise to be prepared to apply on the spot if you find a home you love.

Create a folder that contains copies of necessary documents for an apartment application, including:

  • Last year’s tax returns
  • Documentation of rent paid (if applicable) for the past year
  • Proof of identity (such as a driver’s license)
  • Your three most recent pay stubs
  • References – Bring this folder with you when you’re touring communities. Then, you’ll be ready to snag your dream apartment right away!

Explore Kentucky Rental Communities and Find Your New Home

Are you ready to start your search? There’s no better place to begin than with Anderson Communities, where you can find an excellent variety of rentals in Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville, and Versailles, KY.

We’re transforming the resident experience in every way possible, eliminating common frustrations like hidden fees and raising the bar regarding included amenities. Our residents enjoy conveniences such as free internet and cable, an in-home washer and dryer, and a security system, among others! That’s just in addition to our thoughtfully designed homes and beautiful communities!

Discover how Anderson Communities is setting a new standard for rental homes in Kentucky – and how we can help you make your apartment search a success. To see our current properties for rent, please explore our currently available listing here. If you’d like to speak with us regarding any of them, feel free to contact our team!

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