When you are looking for a rental unit, the most important things to think about are: The dollar limit that you can afford for monthly rent, utilities and deposit. The location that you want.
Rental Tips: How to Begin the Search
To begin searching for an apartment you should first think about what you want/need out of the rental:
- Space: actual square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms and number of floors
- Location: proximity to schools, workplaces, markets, etc
- Included house wares: many rental units include basic appliances like a refrigerator and stove, while some are fully furnished
- Facilities: parking garages and access to laundry rooms
- Special needs: do you need a rental that allows pets, or has handicapped access?
Once you have a list of everything that you want in your new apartment, it's time to cover your limits:
- Monthly cost: obviously, the rental rate of the apartment will be the most important and limiting point.
- Startup fees: application fees, credit checks and safety deposits will add up quickly. estimate on spending the equivalent of three months rent for the signup process
- Travel distances: if a cheap apartment is a four hour drive from your work, travel costs will quickly eat up any savings
With these guidelines in place you can start searching. Begin searching in the areas closest to your work or school, and work out from there, but keep in mind that rental units that are located near the major schools and work districts will be more expensive.
Be thorough in your search, and inspect everything that sounds like a good potential. You will spend a lot of time driving, but it's necessary when apartment hunting. It is very important to get a feel for not only the neighborhood that the apartment is located in, but also to see the local shops and what the traffic is like. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but nothing is better than a critical eye for checking in on new apartments.