Searching for an Apartment

When you’re looking for an apartment  – the most important things for you to consider when looking for an apartment are:

  • Your total dollar limit you can afford for your monthly rent and utilities. Also, don’t forget that in some neighborhoods it may be necessary for you to buy monthly parking.
  • Your total dollar limit you can afford for all the deposits required for the apartment (don’t forget holding and security deposits).
  • Your apartment’s ideal location.

When getting your apartment search on, you also should also carefully think out:

  • Type of apartment or rental unit you want. Do you want an apartment complex? Duplex? Do you prefer a single-family house? Also, think about the features you want – how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
  • Type of apartment rental agreement. Do you want a flexible month-to-month rental agreement? Is your apartment search corporate and you need a short-term rental? Or are you looking for a home and longer lease term?
  • Location of apartment. Do you need access to schools, stores, or public transportation? Where’s the nearest medical facility and grocery store? Also, is the neighborhood of the apartment safe? Think about the quality and character of the neighborhood you’d like to live in. If you’re a single young professional, a loft apartment in downtown Los Angeles may be fun, but if you have a family to consider, an apartment complex in west Los Angeles may make more sense.
  • Condition of the apartment. What’s the condition of the rental unit? If you only want a short-term stay, perhaps it’s not as important. But if you’ll be there six-months of more, check the condition of the floor, paint, bathroom, and kitchen.
  • Special requirements. Don’t be afraid to hold out for the apartment that has the special requirements you or your family need, whether that be wheelchair access or closeness to a particular school.

When you search for an apartment in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and other major cities, your apartment hunt can be competitive. Finding your apartment can go smoothly, though, if you remember to…

  • Be organized and professional. Think of your rental or apartment search like a job search – you’ll want to make sure you stand out as the best applicant.
  • Know what you really want. And what you don’t want. And after that, be flex with the rest of your criteria for your apartment. When you know what you want but go easy on the details that don’t matter, you’ll make a decision more easily and quickly.
  • Be prepared. You may decide on the spot that this is your dream apartment – so have a deposit and/or credit check fee ready when you go on your apartment search. Be prepared with all the information you need to complete a rental application: your prior addresses, credit information, ID, 3-4 paycheck stubs or a bank statement, and a list of references. Landlords will not respond to incomplete applications.
  • Be an early bird. And get the worm. Or apartment. Check apartment listings every morning, and call early.The best time to contact management companies is 8:30 am-12:30 pm, and the best time to contact smaller buildings and building managers is 3:30-7:30 pm. When you hear back from an apartment manager or landlord, call back quickly.
  • Leave professional messages. If you get the message machine, speak slowly, clearly, and repeat your name and phone number (use your cell phone number if possible to make yourself more available). And that’s not all – if this is your first message, tell them that you have excellent credit and a great job. Also, if necessary, state your availability for phone calls and when you can see the apartment.
  • Keep your credit in good standing. Review a copy of your credit report and correct any errors on it. When you fill out your rental application, be sure that it’s consistent with your actual credit report.
  • Review your references. Contact your references for your apartment application and get their okay to use them as your reference. Also, make sure the contact information and job you have for your apartment references is current.
  • Consider preparing a renter’s resume. Not only will a rent resume increase your chances of having your application stand out and taken more seriously, it should make your application process more efficient.
  • Make a good impression. Be professional and demonstrate that you’ll take care of the apartment and property.
  • Map out your appointments. Make appointments to see apartments in the same area so that you don’t waste any time driving across the city unnecessarily.
Oct 2011

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