For some people, apartment hunting is one of life’s greatest joys. For others, it’s a seemingly-never-ending nightmare. As someone who’s done it more than her fair share of times, here are some tips to get you started.
Things to Consider
This may seem obvious but it’s essential to set a realistic budget. Do some research on the market you’re planning to live in and set a budget based on the market and your finances.
What do you need out of your apartment? Is it just somewhere to crash or will it double as your office and study space? Determine what features are a must-have and which you can live without.
Think about where you want to live. How close is it to school and necessities, like groceries and transit? You may find cheaper rent in another part of the city, but if you’re going to lose hours a day commuting, you have to decide if it’s worth it.
When You’re Searching
You don’t want to begin looking a week before your lease is up. The ideal time frame for finding an apartment is 1-2 months in advance, but it doesn’t hurt to start earlier. If you have the option, apartment hunt in the winter. Rent will be cheaper due to lower demand.
Where to Find Listings
There are a lot of great tools for finding apartments. Padmapper is a fantastic tool available in most major cities across Canada and America. It compiles listings from several sites to make your search as easy as possible. Another thing to consider is social media. Something like Facebook Marketplace has tons of listings ready to be viewed.
At the Viewing
It may not seem like a big deal at the time but check to make sure everything is in working order. How’s the water pressure? Can you hear your neighbor above? Do you have cell service in every room? Do all the power outlets work? These are all things to check when viewing an apartment.
Explore the neighborhood
Take a walk before or after your viewing and consider the neighborhood. Pay particular attention to the noise levels. This is going to be the ambient noise that you’re studying to.
It’s important to ask a lot of questions at the viewing. Find out about utilities and amenities. Are you allowed pets? If you’re going with a property management company there’s a good chance they have move-in promotions, so ask about them!
After the viewing, the rest is up to you! If you’re indecisive, try bringing a friend along to help you make your decision. You should have some great options by following these tips.