Finding a New Apartment
That is Perfect for You

Finding a new apartment

Thinking of finding a new apartment?

Perhaps it’s the first time you are looking to get a place of your own, or maybe your lease is expiring and you want to explore your options to move to another location.

The last time I was looking for a new apartment was definitely a learning experience for me. I didn’t know how easy it was to overspend and at the same time how many ways you could save money when finding a new apartment. 

This article will explore different ways you can save when looking for a new place.

If the thought of moving seems overwhelming, these tips will prepare you for what’s ahead and remove some stress with money-saving strategies. 

Read on for tips on how to…

  1. … determine how much space you actually need.
  2. … calculate your budget.
  3. … lower cost and make moving easier.
  4. … find the place that fits your needs.
  5. … prepare the documents required for the rental process.

Determine how much space you actually need


During my last experience finding a new apartment I found that I needed less space since my daughter moved out. We could have splurged on a bigger place, but we opted for one that fits just right so that we could put the extra money towards our goal of buying a house someday.

Whether you’re in a similar circumstance or even if you’ve got a new addition to the family and are looking for room to grow, the size of the apartment you select is one of the most important decisions you will make during this process.

Along with location and amenities, the size of the unit is one of the factors that will significantly impact the cost of the rental. 

More space = more cost

Give some honest thought towards how much space you actually need vs. the space you want. 

Of course, we all want to live comfortably, but don’t let a shiny new apartment stop you from reaching your long-term goals.

Since your rental agreement is not permanent, the money you save when finding a new apartment is money that can be better spent paying off debt, investing, and purchasing your own home.

Calculate your budget


Budget for a new apartment

A good rule of thumb to follow when finding a new apartment is to keep your total housing costs under 30% of your income. 

For example, if you make $50,000 a year, aim to keep your rental expenses under $15,000 over a 12-month period (or $1,250 per month). 

Sticking to the 30% goal may be difficult depending on your location, but it is a good target to reach for if possible to allow yourself some wiggle room for other necessities.

Other expenses that you will likely come across include the following:

Application fees

Many apartments charge a fee to process your application. (prices vary).  

Applying to multiple apartments and paying an application fee numerous times can add up to a sizable unexpected expense.

Being selective when applying can help you save money. I suggest choosing three different apartments to keep application fees down while still giving you a good taste of the available options.

Security deposit

Some apartments require a security deposit to cover potential future repairs of the unit after a tenant moves out.  

While the amount varies, it could be the same amount as one-month’s rent or much less. This is something to consider if you are on a tight budget.

First month’s rent

Standard on any rental agreement

Pet deposit (if applicable) 

Some apartments may not admit pets so if you are a fur parent, make sure that you add this to your research when finding a new apartment.

Places that do allow pets often require a pet deposit.

This is to cover the potential cost of repairs due to pet related circumstances. 

Utilities

Which utilities you will be responsible to pay varies from one place to the next. 

Some apartments might cover utilities as part of your rent while others will require you to open your own accounts with the electric company, gas company, etc.  

Keep in mind that not all rental agreements are the same, so be sure to factor in the cost of utilities in your total expense calculation for the rental as this could be a deciding factor when making your final decision. 

Renter's insurance

This was new to me when I was a first-time apartment dweller, but I soon discovered that I can get a discount when bundling with my car insurance policy. 

Don’t skip getting your renter’s insurance!

Give yourself the peace of mind that your personal belongings will be covered during an unexpected event where your home is damaged.

Lower cost and make moving easier


Lower the cost of moving

Here are some additional things to consider that will help you save some cash as you plan your move:

Moving season

Did you know that more than 40 million people move each year?

Overall, April to September is peak season with approximately 80% of total moves taking place.

During this time June, July and August are the busiest months.

When demand is high, pricing is high.

Plan ahead and try to avoid moving during these months if possible.

Best times to move each month

Best time to move

The best time to move is early morning. 

Sleep well the night before, wake up feeling energized, and make the most of the daylight if possible.

Moving during the afternoon when the sun is brightest can wear you down quickly, and the entire process seems to drag on as you lose daylight.

Best days to move

The best days to move are Monday through Thursday for one simple reason: supply and demand.

For the same reason that you can get a room at a Las Vegas resort for half price on a weekday, pricing on renting a U-Haul or other moving rental trucks are much less expensive during the week than on the weekend.

More people booking rentals Friday - Sunday means less availability and higher prices.

Best weeks to move

The best week of the month to move is during the middle of the month.

Again, you are able to find moving resources much cheaper and less in demand.

Additionally, previously occupied units will most likely be ready to go by mid-month.

This helps you to avoid a potential delay of your move-in day in case the unit hasn’t been fully cleaned after the previous tenant departed.

Find the perfect place


Find the perfect apartment

A quick search of the internet will lead you to many sites and apps that can aid you when finding a new apartment.

Some of the most popular resources include the following:

  • Apartments.com
  • Rent.com
  • Rent hop
  • Rent jungle
  • Tulia
  • Zillow
  • Craigslist
  • Hot pads
  • Realtor.com

Do some homework and find the app or site that is easiest for you to use.

Some offer online virtual tours that are very helpful and informative, especially during these uncertain times.

Prepare the required documents


By now you have settled on the size of the apartment and created a budget that works for you.  Hopefully you found a few places with potential and submitted a few applications.

When it’s time to meet the landlord and tour the property, here are the documents you will need to bring with you:

Remember:

Your credit score will likely be affected when finding a new apartment because each apartment runs a credit check with every application.                                                                                                                                      

  • Proof of employment - Most will ask for your last two check stubs.
  • Photo ID or driver's license
  • List of previous addresses - Landlords may contact your previous landlord (if applicable) as a reference on your application
  • Banking information - These days, most apartment managers are opting to utilize online services to collect rent. So, they will need your bank account information in order to link up for rent payments online. 
  • Letter of recommendation - Reference letters help to ease landlord’s concerns about your tenancy. A positive referral from a previous landlord works wonders.

Additionally, while your future landlord will likely run a credit check, it is always good to do a self-credit check to know where you stand.

Share your opinions on finding a new apartment


This may be a stressful process, but hopefully these tips help to shed some light on the road ahead.  

Remember, be sure to do your homework and ask questions. There are no silly questions when you are finding a new apartment. 

Make sure that your concerns are addressed before you leave the property tour.

Before you sign the lease, take a moment to read it over. I can’t tell you how many times I have found crazy content that stated we were required to do that was never mentioned.  

Has something like this ever happened to you?

Or do you have any other helpful tips to share?

Let your voice be heard in the comment box below.

Best of luck finding a new apartment!


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