Smart Tips on How to Find the Perfect Apartment That Fits Your Lifestyle and Budget

by Staff

You don’t have to be a real estate expert to know that rental prices have gone through the roof this year. Consequently, finding your first, third, or even tenth apartment has never been harder, and keeping within the budget – simply impossible! While we could always ponder over what geopolitical situations brought us to this dilemma, this won’t do our housing situation any good. Thus, rather than crying over (a lot of) spilled milk, let’s see what can be done. After all, while prices may be soaring, most of us still need to find an apartment to rent, and with these smart tips, we may have a fighting chance!

Do the math first

Before hitting the rental websites, you’ll need to sit down and do some cold-hard fourth-grade math. This means setting a rental budget and working through your monthly expenses before you start apartment hunting. After all, your entire monthly income should never be spent solely on rent– this is a one-way ticket to working double shifts or finding additional employment. First-time renters looking to save up a little money on the side may even benefit from renting cheaper apartments at first. With the additional funds you put away, you’ll be able to furnish and decorate until the apartment starts feeling like home.

Consider your must-haves before moving

Just like settling on a budget, this is a step to do before signing the lease. Thus, prior to apartment hunting, consider what you’re looking for in terms of amenities. While some people might be fine renting out a furniture-free space, this simply won’t work for others. Because of this, it’s important to know what you are and aren’t ready to compromise on. For some, this may be running hot water, while for others it could be pet-friendly apartments. Whatever the case, make it clear beforehand and remember to never settle for less.

Location, location, location!

It’s no secret that an apartment on Fifth Avenue is going to cost more than a lodge in a quaint town by the seaside. Even when renting in the same town, prices tend to go up and down depending on the neighborhood. Therefore, it’s no longer just about what you rent, but where you rent it as well. Fortunately, as we become more accustomed to remote work, renting out of state isn’t all that uncommon anymore. Even those working on location have decided to uproot their lives for the sake of lower rental prices. As a result, Texas has been flooded with young people looking for both employment and affordable housing. In recent months, the demand for Lubbock apartments alone has gone through the roof. With both affordable rentals and a rich cultural scene, Texas seems like the place to be this right now!

Never rent online!

While online apartment hunting is fine, renting them is a whole different ball game. Neither newbies nor renting experts should ever rent an apartment solely based on the online listing. Just like social media, rental websites tend to sugarcoat the truth. While the website pictures may seem idyllic, a cracked wall could just be out of frame. Seeing the apartment in person will keep all these (un)realistic fears at bay. However, alongside a thorough inspection, in-person renting has another benefit – seeing if the apartment works for you. Without stepping into a space, you’ll never know if it’s right for you. Once you walk through the halls, you’ll be able to tell if your fridge, furniture, and fur carpet centerpiece fit right in.

You don’t have to fly solo

While renting solo is one option, it’s by no means the only one. After all, there’s always the possibility of finding a roommate. Contrary to what sitcoms will have you believe your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend. All they have to be is a mindful person willing to pay their half of the rent on time. With that said, never settle on a roommate without meeting them first. Setting up a coffee or lunch date will help you get to know the person a bit better and see if your routines and lifestyles add up. Those looking to dig a bit deeper could always do a social media dive and standard backup check –  after all, you’re going to be living with this person!

Apartment hunting has never been (and probably won’t ever be) completely stress-free. However, it doesn’t have to leave you needing a four-day weekend every time. With any luck, the five tips above will lead you to your new dream home sooner rather than later. Whatever you do – don’t forget that your dream apartment is somewhere out there, even if that somewhere means out of state!

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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