Planning Your Apartment Search
Regardless of whether you are moving out of state for a new job, a new university or just a fresh start, it makes sense to take a week or longer to visit your new location, get a feel for your new city or town in order to start your apartment search. If you are lucky enough to have a corporate relocation package, you are usually provided with temporary housing. Most others are likely to benefit by some inexpensive temporary accommodation where it’s possible.
Location and Transportation
When looking for a new apartment, it’s a good idea to try to find an address that’s near to your new employment or school. Reducing your commute can save time for more important things, while eliminating some stress.
Public transportation is another stress eliminator. It’s usually nice to have backup transportation in case of car problems, especially when you’re on your own in a new city.
Check your employer’s HR department or your university’s student housing department to see if they can provide you with any relocation advice or guidance. It’s likely that they have familiarity with the area can offer some useful insights.
Local Market Awareness
Beware of your target city’s supply and demand for rental housing. Cities like Boston and New York have red hot markets. When you see something good you must jump or miss out. In cities like Tampa, FL with slower economies, you can take a more relaxed approach to apartment hunting.
When visiting a potential landlord, analyze your interaction with them. If they show interest in renting you the apartment, that’s a step in the right direction, but if they are irritable or impatient, give them a miss.
Before choosing to visit any apartment, make certain that you can comfortably afford the rent. Be sure to include utilities and transportation in this calculation.
Many, if not most, landlords are very interested in your credit rating. When you have good credit, the world is your oyster. When you have no credit or poor credit all is not lost, but there are some rules you should follow.
- Be honest with the landlord about your credit situation. Let him know how things happened and discuss what you can do in order to sign a lease.
- Working with the landlord or property management company to see if negotiation is possible.
- Offering to pay a landlord 3 to 6 months’ rent may help you close the deal.
Bringing along a credit report can prevent management companies from pulling your credit. This is something that could have some negative impact on your credit score.
Agreeing to have automatic payments made will often make a landlord more comfortable about renting to you.
How to Search
Selecting several different methods for your search can help.
- Apartments.com can help you to view and locate many potential rentals and instantly contact property owners.
- Craigslist.org is a great way to find independent landlords.
- Your new employer or university may have housing assistance information.
When choosing your new place, keep your priorities in order:
- Your rent must not exceed an amount you can comfortably afford.
- Pick a location with no commute or a comfortable commute.
- What are the essentials your apartment must have? – Air conditioning, windows, and dishwasher are examples.
- Remember, many painful decorating choices may be easily corrected. Don’t be entirely swayed by an initial bad impression.
What are your best tips for starting an apartment search in a new state?