Apartment Shopping Tips: Factors to Consider and Helpful Apps to Use
May through September is one of the best times to shop for an apartment because your options are plentiful as people use the summertime to get settled in new jobs, new school districts, and new communities… and with that, new places to live.
One of the first things you need to decide is if apartment living is right for you. Apartments can offer many great amenities including luxury living, beautifully maintained grounds, and professional on-site staff making for a very desirable community.
Research finds that about two in every ten Americans rents either an apartment or condo. One of the nice things about apartments is they offer flexibility, and your landlord is typically responsible for any maintenance or landscaping needs – freeing up your time and adding to your peace of mind.
If apartment living is for you, it’s important to figure out what you can afford. The U.S. Census Bureau recommends that your rent shouldn’t exceed more than 30% of your monthly income. So, if you bring home $5,000 a month, don’t go over $1,500 a month or you may find it tough to make ends meet. Remember to include renter’s insurance in your monthly budget, which usually costs a few hundred dollars a year. Once you know your monthly rent range, it will make it easier for you to pinpoint the apartments that are right for you.
There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for an apartment, including space and location.
As for space, a one-bedroom apartment may be perfect for you, while other renters may require additional room. When shopping for an apartment, choose one with the right amount of space to accommodate your lifestyle. Luxury apartment communities, like Singh’s, often offer one-, two- and threebedroom living in a variety of floor plans and square footage.
You will need to consider location as well. If you decide to live a little farther out from your work and activities, you’ll need to factor extended transportation costs into your monthly budget, along with the wear and tear on your car.
Keep in mind that most apartment rental companies require a security deposit and/or payment of the first month’s rent in advance. Make sure you’re
prepared by asking exactly how much money you will need on the day of your lease signing.
Online is a great place to start your apartment shopping. U.S. News and World Reports finds these are the most popular apps for apartment searches, and here’s why:
- Zillow Rentals: You have access to more than 400,000 rental properties throughout the U.S. Newer features include automatic online rent and the ability to submit an application to prospective rental companies that includes a background and credit check.
- Trulia Rentals: This app gives you one-click access to property managers to inquire about their community. You don’t have to fill out an inquiry form for every apartment you’re interested in or find a phone number.
- Apartments.com: Through a map-based feature, you can get real-time apartment availability information. And, its 3-D tour feature lets you see the space before ever visiting it.
- Realtor.com Rentals: You can search for your next home by map or photo, and when an apartment in a community that you’re interested in becomes available, you’ll receive a notification. This app also has a oneclick feature to connect with the property management company.
- Zumper: It has an inventory of more than one million rental listings with instant alerts for the communities that interest you. Zumper also has an agreement with Experian to provide you with a credit report which you can then submit to the property management company through the app.
- Apartments Finder: This app caters to new or budget-conscious renters. It filters apartments based on the best deal and specific criteria, such as whether utilities are included or short-term housing is available.
- HotPads: This app gives you a feel for the neighborhood. It includes distances to schools and walk scores. It also identifies “hot” listings that are getting a lot of attention from other users.
- Apartments by Apartment Guide: The nice features of this app are high-definition photos and floor plans. You can also save properties that interest you and share them with a friend for a second opinion.
- Rent.com: This allows you to find available visit times and make a tour appointment right online. Resident reviews from a Rent.com survey are posted to help you make a better informed decision about the community.
- RadPad: It has listings nationwide and allows you to pay your rent online, regardless of whether the app has a partnership with your property management company.
Happy apartment shopping!