9 apartment hunting tips to keep you (mostly) sane

apartment hunting

Apartment hunting is no joke. It seems like everyone is out to screw you as hard as possible and make you pay dearly for it too. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. Here are some apartment hunting tips that will mercifully keep you from going into a murderous rage. We promise.

9. Confirm With The Real Estate Agent Beforehand

Real estate agents are like anyone else, some of them are on top of things like the professionals they’re supposed to be, and others act like they’re permanently high 5-year-olds. Make sure you confirm with your real-estate agent the day before and/or the day of a meeting otherwise you could find yourself wasting time like a champ.

8. Remember: Rent Isn’t The Only Cost

Ask how much utilities typically cost, take into consideration whether you’ll be paying an agent fee or not, ask which building amenities are included, and which are not, and if you’re in a space-starved area, expect to pay dearly for a parking spot. Rent is just the beginning and you need to be aware of that going in.

7. Keep Priorities in Mind

What’s more important to you, a dishwasher or an in-unit washer-dryer? Easy parking or nearby public transportation options? Peace and solitude or proximity to the local bar scene? Also, do you really need to live within walking distance of a Chipotle? Think about these things hard, because inevitably there’s always something one will need to give up.

6. Use Your Senses


Can you hear the terrifying pitter-patter of active children or smell the scent of rotted vegetation? Are you lacking natural light? Can you taste the asbestos in the air? Don’t just look at how cute the apartment’s kitchen nook is; use the rest of your senses too.

5. Act Like It’s Your Place Already

Use the bathroom and see how the toilet flushes. Turn on the shower and check the pressure. Open up the closets. Check the electrical sockets to make sure they work. Hell, squat there for the weekend and see what it’s like.

4. Negotiate

If you’ve got excellent credit, a good rental and work history, and a steady, significant income, you might be able to negotiate a better deal. Even if the landlord won’t lower the rent, maybe they will extend the lease so you’re locked in to the current price for a longer amount of time. Or you can ask for certain improvements to be made before you move in. It never hurts to ask.

3. Measure Your Big Stuff Beforehand

It’s simple: couches and beds are large, and doorways aren’t. Know their measurements, and bring your tape measure to ensure their ability to fit through the doors they’ll need to.

2. Consider Proximity to Your Job

Find out all available routes to your job. Even a 5 minute increase from another location means almost an hour of additional commute time per week. That’s more than a 40-hour work week of just commuting per year. If there was ever a reason to say FML, that’s it.

1. Take Pictures

take pictures

Every little bullshit stain, streak, paint-peeled, tile-chipped area of the apartment needs to be photographed so that when your landlord tries to take your deposit back (because he or she probably already spent it) you have a way to show them that that gopher hole, ant colony or Indian burial ground was already embedded in the basement wall when you arrived. Just do it.

For rent image by Shutterstock
Smelling image by Shutterstock
Camera image by Shutterstock

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