How to Find the Best Apartment for Your Needs
Looking for a new apartment can take weeks or even months, depending on where you live and how specific your requirements are for the right apartment.
The price range of the apartment and its total costs on a monthly basis are two important aspects most people first look at when checking out a new place. Beyond these basic considerations, however, you will still need to find out a lot about the property to know if it will really work for you and all of your needs. To make sure that you do not skip out on any of the necessary steps when finding a new place to live, check out the following sections on how to find the best place for you.
The Apartment’s Location
The location of your new potential home can make or break your experience. You cannot underestimate how important the location of your home is to your social life, your eating habits, how you spend your free time, your safety, transportation options and much more.
In short, your happiness in this apartment is linked to its location. Make sure you think about these location-related issues before choosing your next apartment:
- What is the commute like? Look into the realistic amount of time it will take you and other working adults in your household to get to work on a daily basis from the potential apartment. Do not forget to incorporate rush hour traffic, construction areas and anything else that could impact your average commute time. Depending on your vehicle and city, you may also want to calculate how much gas this commute will cost you and how many miles it will put on your car.
- Can you commute by public transport? Whether or not you normally get to work or school by public transport, it is a good idea to look into the public transportation options by the apartment. If your primary mode of transportation were to ever be unavailable, these public transport services may become essential. Do not forget to check how often transport options pass by your nearest stop and how much a ride or a pass costs.
- Does the community interact? Community cohesion varies a great deal from area to area and even building to building. Consider whether you prefer to be social with your neighbors or more of a loner. Look into how often the neighbors speak to each other in your building or neighborhood. Ask people in the neighborhood how they feel about the area and their neighbors. You can also get an idea of how interactive the community is by trying to find information about community events or meetings and how many people actually participate.
- Are there green spaces nearby? If you care about seeing some nature by your home, you should look for the nearest parks or other types of public green spaces available close to the apartment. If you have pets or children, this may be a relatively high priority on your list. If you like to exercise outside, check out if there are any tracks or exercise areas in the neighborhood.
- How is the school system? If you have school-aged children or expect to have some in the near future, you will want to look into the school district of the potential apartment. Different areas follow radically different policies when it comes to school district lines, so you should check for the most recent school district regulations for the area you are interested in. Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to take into consideration any higher education possibilities that are nearby, such as colleges, universities and trade schools.
- What food options are in the area? When choosing a new apartment, you should identify the nearest big grocery store to the apartment and how you can easily get to and from it. You may also be interested in seeing if there are any 24-hour food shops or gas stations nearby as well. If you enjoy eating out, do not forget to check out the restaurants, bakeries, cafes, bars and other food establishments in the area.
- What other amenities are nearby? Beyond eating, there are many amenities that may be priorities for you. Think about your needs and consider looking into the nearest gym, laundry or dry cleaning service, beauty salon or barber, nightlife options and more.
Pay Attention to the Building
To make the apartment search process even more confusing, renting policies and exclusions can change not only from city to city, but also from building to building. The ownership structure of the apartment building will determine many of the building regulations. Therefore, your list of what to look for when search for a new home should include the following considerations:
- Outdoor spaces – Check if the building has any open, communal areas for being outside. This could be in the form of a courtyard, terrace, garden, etc. If applicable, think about where you can take your pet for a walk.
- Security system – Find out what sort of security living the building offers. If you do not have an individual entrance, look into how you can buzz visitors in from your apartment. Find out if there are security cameras and if so, what areas they cover and who manages them. Pay attention to barred windows and triple-locked doors as indicators of safety in the neighborhood.
- Trash collection and recycling – Find out about trash collection fees and schedules and whether there are separate recycling bins available. You may want to ask about large item pick up options as well.
- Parking – If you have a car or regular visitors with cars, look into the parking options available for your unit and building. Ask what fees are involved with reserving a private parking spot.
- Workout areas – It is a good idea to ask about any open workout areas available in the building, such as a pool or gym. You may want to ask about their gym guest policy as well.
Other Apartment Details
Beyond all of the typical checklist items that are popularly recommended, there are some not-so-common qualities that may be priorities for you. If you work at home, for example, you should certainly remember to look into Wi-Fi speed times in the area. Consider adding any of these characteristics to your ideal apartment hunting checklist:
- Size – Although bigger apartments are not always better, you should still find a place with enough bathrooms, bedrooms and living space for yourself and your family members, roommates and pets.
- Pets – If you have a pet or are hoping to get one soon, look into the apartment’s pet policy. Are they allowed? If so, is there an extra deposit fee or monthly cost? Are there restrictions on the size or type of pets you can have?
- Roommates – If you will be sharing the apartment with non-family members, you should also consider the privacy and security you can have within the apartment itself.
- Energy allowances – If you pack a lot of tech with you, be it for work, school or hobby, you should make sure your energy usage will not overload the apartment’s circuits. You should be able to ask the property owner about the electricity specifications of the apartment in addition to available outlets and expected electricity costs.
- Wi-Fi – If you depend on the internet on a regular basis, you will want to look into what internet providers are in the area or already available in the apartment along with their average uploading and downloading speeds. If you expect to be logging some serious time online with big data projects, inquire about the whether you are permitted to install your Wi-Fi network.
- Cellphone reception – Believe it or not, there are still plenty of places with little to no cell phone reception. In some cases, you could be in a good area but the building or other factors may interfere with your reception quality. Whatever the case, make sure to check for cellphone reception throughout the entire potential apartment.
- Laundry – If you do not have onsite laundry facilities or are in need of specialty dry-cleaning services, don’t forget to look into the nearest laundry facilities to the potential apartment.
- Lighting – Whether you prefer big windows and natural light or you enjoy a dimmer environment with pitch-black nights, you can find an apartment for you. If you have any lighting preferences, make sure to include them on your apartment hunting checklist.
- Storage – Double-check what storage options come with the apartment. Look for closets, storage attics and basements and other potential storage areas.