Home » Tips and Trick -when looking for an apartment

Tips and Trick -when looking for an apartment

Tips and Trick -when looking for an apartment

I promised I was going to cove all the stages and phases of apartment hunting, and hey you may even be able to use some for house hunting; personally wouldn’t know I do not own a house just yet. One day I’ll be there and I’ll share all about the mistakes, issues, errors, tips, and tricks I made/learned while doing that too. When it comes to apartment-hunting I find us as people tend to be a bit more lenient, and even just settle with what we find because the process is too stressful, and yes in some cases that is true. However, why wouldn’t you give yourself the best chances of finding your perfect or almost perfect apartment?  

I figured I would give you a little bit more details about my first-time apartment touring. I had just gotten out of college two months prior and had landed a job out of state. I also got offered and accepted the job while I was away on vacation during a road trip from Nashville, to Memphis, and finishing up in New Orleans. I had three weeks to find an apartment and five of those days I was nowhere even close to where I was going to be living. The urgency to find a place, get furniture, and move in all prior to starting a job put a slight damper on the trip; however, I spent hours each night before bed (when I was able to) and a bit in the day when downtown was around downloading every app looking at apartments. And like I said mistakes were made…oh were they made. I’d like to blame it all on the rush but I was also a tad naive and excited to live on my own. 

Since I love giving unsolicited advice but mainly I want people to learn from the mistakes I have made and come to learn for myself. Apartment hunting isn’t easy, a lot of places bet that you are looking to urgently move, and a lot of places lie. Hopefully, the last article, this one,  and the next ones coming will put you in the best possible situation when it comes to apartment hunting. 

When is the best time to start looking for an apartment? 

  • The late fall and the winter season is when I have seen the most deals, but this can also depend on your location as well as the complex. I helped my friend move into a 2 bedroom newly renovated apartment (granite countertops, walk-in closet, 2 bathrooms, live-in laundry, and wood flooring) just before thanksgiving. They signed a 13-month lease got 1 month free, no security deposit, and a $200 visa gift card. However, we all don’t have the luxury of waiting till then. Which if that is the case for you the best time is 6-4 weeks before you have to move out. 
  • Why you may ask well any earlier and you may have to pay rent for 2 apartments or you may move into a building and not be able to afford groceries. Imagine moving in and not starting work for 3 more weeks….now you have to wait 3-5 weeks (maybe more) before you get paid. You may be able to do that but for me, that is a risk I don’t want to take. 

How do you start looking for an apartment or place to rent? 

  • Looking for an apartment or a place of rent can be done in a few ways. 
    • Realtor: get a relator they do all the heavy lifting and work you just have to show up. Some extra fees in this as they do not work for free. 
    • Apps: Apps are what I used as I want details, research, etc and I like to be hands-on. There are a ton of apps you can use some of my favorites are: Zillow Rentals, apartments.com, apartment list, rent.com, and Trulia Rentals. There are a lot more out there you can use. 
    • Search the web: Not every apartment advertises on an app. Frustrating yes but do no count out the web just yet. 
    • Check the newspaper people do advertise there too!

Take Detail Notes

  • This is always my answer but you need notes to be able to compare places, check over, and when you go do on an in-person tour have something to reference to check over what they are saying. 

Review the Apartment’s Policy

  • Read that fine print or the information section. This may sound weird but a lot of places may only accept 55 years and older. Some places may even be low-income housing as well. Plus some may have quiet hours or other things that you may not like. Each place is unique so you have to pay attention to what information is provided for you. 

Take a look at the Website

  • Check the website (if they have one) and compare the information you were provided. For example, if the app says the apartments are only $500 but the website says $1000 that is a huge difference and you have to compare. 

Look at the floor plans/any photos or videos they may have

  • A lot of places have various floor plans or square footage so it’s important to take a look and see what one fits you best or what one you like best. Now, this doesn’t mean that every plan is going to be available however if they provide you with options at least you are able to say what one you prefer/like best. Also, some plans have pictures,  3-D, or walkthrough videos where you can see what the inside looks like as opposed to a 2-D version of a floor plan. 

Review their ratings/reviews 

  • Always see what other residents think or have experienced at a location. Some places look beautiful but residents may say management is horrible, they break their own lease agreement, or they may even tell you a few lies that they may have. 
  • I viewed an apartment complex that was gorgeous, a few years old, fit in my budget, and had a few extra bells and whistles. However, the reviews constantly said how there is never enough parking, if you have guests their cars will be towed, management constantly breaks their own lease terms. Safe to say I did not move into that apartment complex. 

Figure out what is included in your rent. 

  • When you live in an apartment complex often your rent includes a few perks, as well as some basic utilities, always figure out what is included. It is pretty common for apartments to included water and sewage removal. However, some places also include gas, insurance, garbage, recycling, and a few other things. Some additional perks may be a full gym, a sauna, a working pool, free maintenance, package service, and security. Each location and complex has its own set of rules and it is important to research what is included. Just remember even if you do not use these you still have to pay for them. 

Check out what is local or near it

  • Always look at your surroundings. If you have to take a train to work; moving to a complex an hour from the station may not be the best idea. Also if you find out your thirty minutes from the closest grocery store is that something you are comfortable with? Figuring out what your near helps your figure out what your limitations may be. If you forgot the pasta for dinner it is going to take you over an hour to go to the store grab it and come home and then you have additional cooking time. It’s just good to know what issues you may be facing when you move there potentially. 

Reach out for an in-person tour 

  • No matter what they tell you, you have to visit the complex in person. Take a look around get a tour, ask questions, and see what is available in person. Never ever promise me this never ever agree to an apartment off of the pictures or videos online. You have to walk it before you agree to it. 

Now I know what you may be thinking this is so obvious, and yes a lot of them are. But just because something is obvious doesn’t mean we always do it. As someone who did little to none of these; if I did them I would have been in such a better situation the first time around. Like I said I know you did not ask for this advice but that’s is what big sisters do they give you unsolicited advice and hope it sticks so you could be better off than we were. Hopefully, this sticks for when you are ready to start your apartment search, or even if someone you know is looking you have some tips to help them out. Now don’t worry I’ll always have your back, and if you get stuck or lost or confused on any part of the process I’m always here just ask your unofficial internet big sis. I’m here for you. -KMH



1 Comment

  1. September 4, 2023 / 4:41 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that touring can also help a lot when looking for the right apartment. I’m interested in looking for one because my mother will be relocating to a different city. Having a small apartment will help her maintain the place on her own without assistance.

Leave a Reply