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The How-To Lounge: Finding the Perfect Apartment

Finding the perfect apartment can seem like an impossibility, but in reality, it just takes time and dedication. If you're like so many people I know right now, in the thick of the housing search, see some of the tips I have for you to help this process be as pain free as possible.

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  • If you don't have the time to do this kind of a search by yourself, sign up with a local rental company who specializes in finding the apartment that meets your criteria for you. They will alert you when apartments become available so you don't have to constantly be on the look out
  • If you're like me and you want to see anything and everything, constantly check sites like Craig's List or read your local want ads for new rental availabilities
  • Since most people use their weekends to drive around and look for For Rent signs, be the early bird that catches the worm and take a spin around your ideal neighborhood before or after work during the week to look for available apartments
  • Make as many phone calls and make as many appointments as you can. Oftentimes landlords and property managers are not able to convey the right message about the apartment in the space allotted so it's important to see the apartments with your own eyes
  • Figure out what's important to you in an apartment. Is it having a laundry room, a walk in closet, a bathtub, a dishwasher, a disposal, having a parking spot, a view, or is the location the most important thing you are looking for? Oftentimes, an apartment won't have everything, so prioritize your needs
  • Finding the perfect apartment can be close to impossible, but finding the almost perfect apartment can be done so keep your expectations reasonable

I hope these tips are helpful if you are currently looking for a new roof over your head and if you have any other suggestions that I might have forgotten, please share them in the comments below.


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katlovesclothes katlovesclothes 9 years
Great advice all! I worked for an apartment-management and brokerage firm here in Chicago, and let me tell you, some agents (Okay, All of them) will tell you that a unicorn lives on the roof and grants wishes to get you to sign the sacred check and hand over the lease. Definitely check out the Better business bereau, online ratings for the landlord and rates at (have a cup of coffee while you are at it, it doesn't take as long as you think, you ARE online already) but just as important, talk to the nieghbors- because if that unit is vacant, there is a reason: the gal who lived here moved to NY and got married is FAR preferable to: the guy who lived here before was robbed at gunpoint. Yeah. It sucks, it happens, you really need to know- and the landlord, the broker won't tell you what the building issues are the way alongtime resident will! Good luck with your move, may you buy many beautiful things and have fat, happy pets!
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
Check out that balcony cut off.
trendyindc trendyindc 9 years
Also, you should try driving around different neighborhoods at different times of the day. I know there are some places that look great by day and then at night it's super sketchy.
fashiontoronto fashiontoronto 9 years
This helped a lot as I am currently in the process of desperately looking for a great place! Everyone I know seems to be able to find an amazing apartment except for me...hopefully soon it'll work out for me too :)
dice dice 9 years
You could also go to most websites and sign up for an account. Give them your email address as well as set up an alert to send you an email when a new apartment comes online.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
this is great! thanks!
c0rkie c0rkie 9 years
thank yoU! :D
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
All the apartment buildings in my neighborhood went upscale - everything was upgraded to hardwood floors, granite countertops etc. Nice, but not worth the extra expensive pricetag. So we found a small house that the owner bought before the housing boom... that means we pay rent to cover a mortgage from 2002 - not 2007, and the price difference is huge. My general advice would be to find a slightly older building that's been kept up well, but not upgraded too much, and to look at houses for rent as well, if it's in your budget. You might be suprised at the deals you can find!
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 9 years
Thanks for the tips! I am still on the lookout for the perfect apartment. It is hard to look before or after work
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Ohhh thanks Eaker! I was going to mention that too.
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Other good tips: Check the safety/crime rate of the neighborhood. Most police departments should provide this. Take into consideration if you're renting from a large apartment complex that may own many complexes, or if you're renting from someone who, say, made separate apartments from a large house. In my (albeit, short)experience, renting from someone who is not part of a large management company is very difficult. Both have their pros and cons, I know, but I think it's something very important to take into consideration.
eaker eaker 9 years
It helps to check review sites as well, like Remember to take some of the reviews with a grain of salt, because people are more likely to complain than praise. It can still help you narrow down your search. You can also use I rented at a complex I found through them and they gave me a $100 gift card.
partysugar partysugar 9 years
This is great, thanks Dear! Got any tips on how to beat the mad rush of people at showings?? I went to one this Sunday and there must have been 35 people all there who wanted to rent the same studio.
theboyslover theboyslover 9 years
I wish this was out when I was apartment hunting. thankfully i found the perfect apartment. hardwood floors, 1920's archetexture (sp, i know!) 2 bedrooms, 10' ceilings and 1,000 square feet. Only problem is since the building is 'vintage' there is no central air, i have raidiator heaters and no dishwasher! a small price to pay to live chic, i know!
rlveronica rlveronica 9 years
This post was perfect for me. :) Thanks DearSugar!
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