Moving to a new city can be a great adventure, and it can also be a little bit scary. There are lots of decisions you are going to need to make, and lots of things to consider. In fact, one of the hardest things about moving to a new city can be finding apartments for rent. Luckily, apartment searching can be easy, especially if you know what you are doing. Here are a few tips on finding apartments for rent in a new city.
Research the City
Before you begin looking for a place to live, one of the first things you need to do is research the city that you will soon be calling home. Find out the average cost of rent, the number of rentals that are currently available in the area, and even the types of apartments available for rent. While you might have your hopes set on one type of apartment, you may have to adjust what you’re searching for based on affordability and availability.
Select a Neighborhood or Two
Now that you’ve done some research on the city, pick out one or two neighborhoods that interest you. Find out where the trendiest and most popular neighborhoods are. Would you prefer quiet streets that are mainly residential? If so, search for an apartment in a small suburban neighborhood. If you would prefer the hype of urban living, look for a hip, downtown district in the middle of the city.
Safety should also be a big factor in your apartment search. To find out about a specific area’s crime, you can search online or call the local police precinct. Many people will be more than happy to offer advice.
A few other things to think about include your budget (more on that in a minute), distance from your work, whether or not it’s considered a safe area, the overall neighborhood vibe, and any local restaurants, groceries, and other stores.
Calculate Your Budget
Something else you will need to know before you even begin looking for a place to live is how much you can afford to pay out in rent and other living costs. A common rule of thumb to follow is that your rent should not be any more than 25% to 30% of your income.
Rent is not your only financial consideration though. You also need to factor in the cost of utilities. While some apartments may include some or all utilities in the rent, others may not. To get a general idea of how much utilities run in a particular area, you can call the local power, cable/internet, and water companies and ask for estimation. Then later, once you have found an available apartment that you are interested in, you can call them back and get a more definite answer based on the previous tenant’s bills.
You should also add in other monthly costs such as groceries and other food, healthcare, clothes, money for your social life, and transportation costs. Speaking of transportation costs, will you need to use public transportation to get to work, the store and other places? If so, factor in those costs. If you have a car, factor in any parking costs, as well as gas for the month.
Decide on Size and Amenities
While doing your research, you’ve most likely gotten a pretty good idea of the apartments for rent based on your income and location. Now it’s time to think about what size apartment (number of bedrooms) you want, as well as any amenities you’d like to have.
How many rooms you want will directly impact the rent. So depending on your budget, you may need to think really hard about whether or not you need that extra room to use as an office. If it is just going to be you, one bedroom is usually perfect. If it is going to be you and a roommate, then two to three bedrooms may be best.
Whether you are looking for stainless steel kitchen fixtures and a fireplace, or an exercise room and swimming pool, the type of amenities offered can really make one apartment stand out from the rest. Luckily, many apartments for rent will list the amenities that they offer. You can also call around to properties and ask.
Locate Apartments for Rent
Now that you know exactly what you want based on your preferred location, price, size, and amenities, it’s time to begin your search for an apartment in earnest. There are many ways you can go about finding apartments for rent. You can search online, look in the local classified paper, and even ask for help from friends, coworkers or anyone else you know that is familiar with the area you’d like to move.
In fact, anyone around you who is familiar with the city you’re about to move to can be extremely beneficial to your apartment search. They can offer advice regarding location, safety and more. So ask for help, listen to the advice you get, but remember, in the end, it’s you that has to make the final decision, so make sure you do some thorough research and take everything you’ve learned into consideration.
Also, look for any online reviews of the apartment building from previous tenants.
You’ve Found an Apartment, Now What?
After a lot of research, you’ve found what you feel is the perfect apartment. Now what?
Before you make any major decisions (such as signing a lease), try to visit the property first. Not only will this allow you to get a better look at and feel for the neighborhood, but it will also allow you to inspect the apartment and property first hand.
If it is not possible to visit before your move, take advantage of any offered online virtual tours. If the apartment you’ve chosen doesn’t offer an online tour, ask the landlord or leasing office if they could provide you with a video tour via Skype, FaceTime, or other similar option.
Seeing an apartment firsthand, or at least via live video, can be a big help in making your final decision
Final Thoughts Finding an apartment in a new city doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. With the above tips and some thorough research, you will be living in your awesome apartment in the city you will soon call home.