Apartment hunting is stressful. A lot of us have been through it before and unfortunately will likely have to go through it again. There are several factors that you should consider when looking for an apartment. We will go over some of them here and hopefully provide you will some resources to get through the process in a way that is easy for you to get through.
We’ve all heard the real estate saying the only thing that matters is location, location location. While this saying is a bit simplistic and ignores factors that should be considered there is merit to the saying. This applies more to buying a home than to renting an apartment and the reason behind it boils down to the idea that you can always upgrade or change the structure that sits on a piece of land but you can never move that land to another location. Upgrading land is harder than upgrading improvements on that land. All that aside what I’d like to focus on is how to determine where you should look for an apartment to rent.
School and Crime
If you have any children that are of the age where they are attending school then the quality of school will be an important factor. In fact, school rankings, in my opinion, are the best indicator for determining the current and future values of home prices and rental prices. Our favorite resource for finding out school rankings is from Niche.com where you can look over the different rankings and compare the districts in the areas you are looking to rent. Crime rates can be a bit more complicated but you can usually check for national crime rates that are published through official channels. The other option that I have heard, but never personally done myself, is to reach out to the local police departments and ask them about recurring incidents in the area and other types of crime that you are worried about.
Work and Friends
Many times people will want to make sure that they are located close to their friends without consideration for where they work or may work in the future. If you work from home then you obviously don’t have a commute to worry about. A long commute will often be the difference in quality of life that many people refuse to believe. They convince themselves that a 2 hour commute is acceptable and won’t affect them and that it is much more important to be close to their friends. In reality, most people will be commuting to and from work 5 times every week while seeing friends or going out once or twice each week. I suggest that you consider your commute or potential commute as being one of the more important factors when choosing where to live.
Making sure that you get an apartment of the appropriate size can be tough. We often believe that bigger is better and when given the chance we should always get the extra space. There are burdens that come with additional space including an increase in utilities. Most notably electricity and gas costs (if you have a gas heater) will be higher as air conditioning more space is much more expensive. Also in this is that structures that reach a certain size require a 2nd air conditioning unit which will dramatically increase your costs.