Finding a New Apartment or Rental

Whether you are looking to find an apartment, room or sublet, these tips will help make the process easier.

From understanding the rental market to discovering ways to manage your expectations, each step of the process is crucial in obtaining your goal of finding a good place for you to live. When you are looking for a new apartment or rental space to call your own, having information about the process will not only help you get the best deal but also ensure that you also are not taken advantage of by an unscrupulous property manager.

There are a number of factors you need to keep in mind and information you will need to know before you call the property manager to schedule an apartment viewing. Understanding the state of the current rental market, knowing your own personal finance limits and deciding whether to use a realtor are all some of these considerations. Use the following information to find a new rental situation that is a win/win for everyone involved.

Understanding the Current Rental Market

Prior to using online search engines or a realtor to help find available properties, you should first educate yourself a little on the current rental market. In recent years, the availability of rental properties has decreased as the demand for apartments has begun to steadily increase. If you are hoping to live in a populated area experiencing a surge in economy and employment, you may have more difficulty finding an apartment or rental there.

The rental market will become more competitive in highly populated areas where multiple people will be vying for approval for the same space. Keeping this in mind when trying to find the best apartment will help you to expand the radius you are willing to live in and will potentially open the availability of new apartments if you are willing to be flexible on the location.

If the current rental market is competitive, you may also need to pay more per month than you originally wanted in order to secure the best apartment or rental in your target area. Additionally, greater interest in your selected neighborhood may prompt your landlord to increase your rent payments each year once you have already moved into the property. If you have signed a month-to-month contract, then the landlord can raise the rent each month.

When calculating a rental price range, you should be mindful of these increases to ensure you are not spending beyond your limit each month. Establish your budget in advance and search for rentals within this budget to prevent yourself from applying for a property you will no longer be able to afford in just a few months.

Manage Your Expectations During This Process

The process of finding and securing a new apartment or rental can be overwhelming. To prevent yourself from creating unattainable goals, you should find ways to manage your expectations throughout the process. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to create a checklist of information you should already know. A common checklist should include:

  • Calculation of your monthly payments, including rent and utilities. While you may feel as though an apartment you are interested in is within your price range, you may not feel as certain once you have calculated the cost of utilities as well. If you do not want to spend over $1,000 per month, then you will need to find an apartment or rental below this threshold to allow for the cost of utilities. Finding a rental with utilities included in the rent is possible but quite rare.
  • Cost of fees needed to move in, such as administrative fees and applications fees. Certain apartment complexes will charge you an administrative fee to cover the cost of assisting you with the leasing process. Additionally, you will need to pay a fee to submit your application for an apartment or rental you are interested in obtaining. These costs can fluctuate, and determining what they may be in advance will help you to avoid anxiety when it comes time to write a check.
  • Overall total needed to move into the apartment. You will need to carefully consider the total costs for moving into a new place, as many landlords will ask for the first month of rent, last month of rent and a security deposit from you before you move in. If you know you have a certain amount of money saved in the bank and you can only afford the first month and the security deposit up front, this will greatly alter your apartment search.

Keeping these factors in mind can help you avoid choosing the wrong apartment during your search.

Online Searches vs. Real Estate Agent

Establishing your approach for finding a new apartment or rental can be determined by the method you find most effective. If you are the type of person who enjoys conducting your own research, browsing apartment listings online to find your next home may prove more beneficial than working with a realtor. There are several online apartment guides available, and you can narrow your search to specific towns and price points to ensure you are finding the right rental option for you.

The process of finding an apartment can become difficult if you are unable to get an answer from potential landlords, so you will need to have patience if you choose this route. Additionally, some online search engines may not update information as frequently, meaning you may be interested in a property that is no longer available to rent. To ensure you are using this method, you will need to be timely when reaching out to property owners to secure a viewing of the apartment or rental you are interested in.

If working with a realtor to find an apartment, you may have an easier time of avoiding potential pitfalls from expressing interest in a property that is no longer available to rent. The realtor will do most of the work after you have provided him or her with a list of requirements for your new apartment. It is important to remember that you may need to pay a real estate agent for his or her work. Often, however, the agent receives a fee payment from the landlord rather than the renter, but you should ask before beginning your search.

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