Before you go out and look at apartments, you should first do your homework and get ready. If you have not done so, see these articles on how to get ready to find an apartment to rent:
Part of your preparation should be deciding where you want to live. You should have a list of cities, neighborhoods and zip codes that are possible locations. This will help in your search.
Apartment Hunting Resources
The next step is finding possible apartment buildings that you will want to check out. There are many resources available to apartment hunters for finding an apartment.
The Internet is the first place you should look, since it is convenient and the majority of apartment units are now listed online. To start your search, visit www.mynewplace.com, where you can search over 6 million apartment units online.
Another good resource is the local newspaper classifieds. Many landlords will list open units in the newspaper. Find out what the local newspapers are in each area you are looking, and check the classified listings.
You can also use a rental broker. Typically, a rental broker will charge a fee (one time or monthly) for you to look at their listings, which are provided by landlords. They may also do some screening on behalf of the landlord such as employment or credit checks.
Usually, online resources such as www.mynewplace.com will be all you need. However, in some locations landlords are not as tech savvy and you may need to use other resources.
Beginning Your Search – Screen for Possibilities
When you begin your search, you will first need to find what apartment units are available for rent. If there are lots of units on the market and buildings to look at, you will need to narrow down the list to a number that you can reasonably visit.
To screen for possible apartment buildings and units, it is easiest to use an online apartment search web site, such as www.mynewplace.com. When you search apartments for rent online, you can screen for criteria such as amount of rent, number of bedrooms and baths, furnished vs unfurnished, acceptance of pets, and amenities such as exercise gym, pool, laundry facilities, and parking. You can also view photos of apartment buildings, and maps of the area to see if the location fits what you are looking for.
This first screening may give you some idea of whether your budget for monthly rent will meet your apartment wants and needs. You may need to go back and adjust your expectations or your rental budget, and then search again with revised criteria.
As you conduct your online search, collect a list of possible apartments to visit so you can examine them more closely. You can also look at other sources such as newspaper classifieds to add to your list.
If you are not finding a lot of possible apartments, you may want to keep a 'B' list of apartments that did not quite fit your needs, but may be possibilities if you do not find anything else.
Looking At Apartments
Once you have a list of apartments to look at, you are ready to hit the pavement and start looking at actual units. Bring your list of apartment wants and needs, and also keep your apartment rental budget in mind as you look.
For more information on looking at apartments, see our continuing article on checking out an apartment. You should also inspect check each unit for apartment safety and security.