Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post brought to you by RENTCafe.com, a nationwide apartment search website which enables renters to easily find houses and apartments for rent throughout the United States.
Moving to a new city is exciting and packed with tasks, errands, and chores. When your to-do list is long, it might be tempting to accept the first vacant apartment you see.
Don’t let the opportunity to choose a great place slip past you. Make sure your new home includes the amenities and upgrades you want by dedicating time to a proper search. Remember, apartments aren’t just the space between your four walls; each one is part of a community of neighbors who share the space.
Here are five useful steps that will help you love where you live.
#1 Set a perimeter
No one likes a long commute. Studies show that most people don’t regularly drive outside of a 15-mile radius of their home. Decide on a reasonable commute and plot an area close to where you’ll work or attend school. If you’re moving to a city with good public transportation like San Francisco, identify a few zones where you can live with easy access to the bus or train.
#2 Ask for advice from friends
Social media makes it easy to see the profiles of area businesses, but it’s hard to tell what vibe a neighborhood has just by looking at pictures. Making it even more difficult, many people gloss over the bad parts on their posts, so reach out to people on your favorite platform and ask a few questions. It’s very likely that a friend or acquaintance will have information on the areas you’re considering and can offer input.
#3 Search online
Narrow your search by browsing through the listings of a nationwide apartment search website featuring trusted rental options. You can browse through apartments, see the property details, check prices, view floor plans, and read reviews from residents. If you find an intriguing community, you can then check availability and contact the property to arrange a visit. Narrowing the search is easy when everything is online.
#4 Visit in person
Visit the neighborhood and while you’re there, go shopping or get your hair cut. Introduce yourself to people who live or work in the area and ask them what they like or dislike. As you drive around, see if the houses and cars are well-maintained. Look for bars on the windows, cameras on porches, and other indicators that crime might be high.
#5 Narrow to your best choices
Once you’ve made a shortlist of contenders, be prepared to fill out applications and verify you can afford the apartment. Have the money for a deposit easily accessible in case you need to put money down. If the available inventory is high, you may be able to negotiate lease terms. Otherwise, move quickly and secure the unit so you can start making moving arrangements.
Finding a new home is more than finding a place to live
Moving to a new city can be exciting and a bit scary, but don’t leave finding a great home to chance. Even if it feels like time is short, post on your social media accounts, research properties and neighborhoods on the web, and get the amenities you want in your new home. Each of these tips will help you find a place where you belong.
Finally, don’t forget to go with a full service, highly ranked moving company to make sure your precious cargo makes it safely to your new apartment.