4 Ways to Find an Apartment (2024)

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1Considering Your Housing Needs

2Searching For an Apartment

3Inspecting a Potential Apartment

4Being an Appealing Rental Applicant

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Article Summary

Co-authored byNathan Miller

Last Updated: May 26, 2024References

Whether you’re new to a city or relocating to a different building or neighborhood, it can take a great deal of time and effort to find the perfect apartment. To find the ideal place you will need to think about your finances, your lifestyle, and the rental market in your town. Then you will need to do a thorough search and stand out as an applicant. If you follow these handy tips, your dream apartment may be closer than you think.

Method 1

Method 1 of 4:

Considering Your Housing Needs

  1. 1

    Create a realistic budget. Decide what you can afford in rent, including monthly utilities and other expenses.[1] Typically, a person should pay no more than 30% of their income in rent.[2] While this is not always possible, especially in high-priced cities, it is a good amount to shoot for.

    • Don’t look at any apartments out of your current price range. If you are seduced into an apartment that is too expensive for you to afford, it only sets you up for failure.[3]
    • Many real estate agencies require proof of monthly income to secure an apartment; additionally, higher-priced locations may only accept candidates who make above a certain income.
    • If the amount you can afford to pay each month is too low to get your own apartment, consider sharing a place with a roommate. That way the rent, and utilities, can be split in half.
  2. 2

    Make a wish and need list. How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need to be near public transportation? Do you want a balcony? A pool on-site? Do you want to live near bike paths? An adults-only apartment building? Figure out your wants and needs, and then create your list.

    • While it's great to have a wish list, chances are you won't get absolutely everything on your list. Prioritize your wants from most important to least important. This will help you weigh each feature against the others when you are actually looking at apartments.
    • You may want to add a few things that you absolutely don't want as well. You may not know what these things are at first but as you start looking at apartments, feel free to add to your list and make note of the things you can't live with.

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  3. 3

    Find your ideal neighborhood.[4] Drive or walk around different parts of the city where you might like to live. Then look at apartment listings in that area to see if you can afford to live there. Also consider commute times, your lifestyle needs, and local conveniences when picking a neighborhood.[5]

    • There are websites, like AddressReport and Walk Score, that can help you get a feel for the safety, cleanliness, demographics, school zoning, and local amenities of the neighborhood.
    • It's a good idea to have a couple neighborhoods in mind when you start looking for an apartment. This will give you more options to look at and, hopefully, a wider range of prices to choose from.

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Method 2

Method 2 of 4:

Searching For an Apartment

  1. 1

    Hire a rental agent if that is standard practice in your region. While searching for an apartment in a smaller city or town may not require the help of a professional, you will need someone to help you in a large city, such as New York. In a large city, with a hot market with lots of competition, a rental agent can help you with the huge amount of work it takes to find an apartment. A rental agent should be hired if you need their assistance and their expertise.[6]

    • It may cost you quite a bit to hire a professional rental agent. Some agents may charge around 10% of the rent you will pay in one year on the apartment they find you. Some will simply charge you one month's rent.[7]Don't forget to figure this into your budget!
  2. 2

    Use the Internet. The Internet is one of the best resources for zeroing in on your dream apartment. It can give you a clear idea of what’s available before you actually go out looking for it. It can also give you an idea of the price range in your town or city.

  3. 3

    Use your Smartphone. With the latest advancement in mobile devices you can use your phone's GPS to display apartments that are nearest to your location while walking around a neighborhood that you like. Download one of the apartment search applications available for your Smartphone and use it to search anywhere at anytime.

  4. 4

    Be diligent with your search in a tight rental market. Consider buying the newspaper in the morning. Low priced units rent fast so find the new ads quickly. Call the owners early in the morning. By being the first to look at the unit, many owners are more likely to rent to you and possibly you'll pay lower than market rent.

  5. 5

    Shop and compare. This apartment will be your home, perhaps for years, so ensure peace of mind by comparing prices, options, and locations before taking the plunge. In a tight rental market you may have few options, but if your town has a lot of options, take your time to decide on what's right for you.

    • Many times you will be weighing different aspects of various apartments against one another. If you are having a hard time making a decision, try making a comparison graph. It could help you make a decision to see the pros and cons of each apartment next to each other.
  6. 6

    Deal only with a reputable company. Dealing with a larger apartment management company has its advantages as well as drawbacks. One can find convenient solutions through larger companies, but one should also be careful about companies' claims regarding tenant needs, red tape, reliability, etc. Consider reviewing other renters' opinions on property management review sites (but, as with any review site, take any gripes with a grain of salt.)

  7. 7

    Contact the landlord or manager of a potential apartment as quickly as possible. This is especially important if you are looking for an apartment in a city with lots of competition. You want to be the first to respond, so that the person in charge gives you first crack at the apartment.

    • However, if you are not first you still have a chance of getting an apartment. Don't skip applying for the perfect place just because you're not first!

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Method 3

Method 3 of 4:

Inspecting a Potential Apartment

  1. 1

    Do a thorough inspection and take notes.[8] Keep a record of each apartment you visit. Note what features are extra or missing. Take measurements of the rooms and doorways to ensure furniture fits on moving day. Turn on light switches, look inside closets, check water pressure, visit the laundry room, walk the grounds, and ask neighbors what it’s like to live there.

  2. 2

    Ask lots of questions. Who controls the heat? Are appliances included? Is smoking allowed? Are pets allowed? When is the apartment available? Will they paint before you move in?

    • Also ask about vacancy rates. If an apartment building has a large number of vacant units, chances are the building is not being managed well.
  3. 3

    Look around the neighborhood. Make sure that the neighborhood is agreeable by wandering around it. Also visit the area at a variety of times of day. What is a quiet neighborhood early on a Saturday morning may be hectic on a weekday evening.[9]

  4. 4

    Understand the lease. Your lease should clarify the rent, terms, and duration of your agreement. Read it carefully and negotiate terms before signing.

    • If you give a deposit, get a receipt. You want documentation of any and all payments you make, so there is no question about it later.

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Method 4

Method 4 of 4:

Being an Appealing Rental Applicant

  1. 1

    Have your documents ready. When you go to visit a place you really like and will most likely choose, remember to bring your checkbook so you can put down a deposit. This is especially important in a tight rental market, where the first one to pay the application fee may be considered first.

    • If you need to move within the next week or two, or you are looking for an apartment in a tight market, you can speed the process along by compiling your two most recent pay stubs, your last year's W2, your credit score, and printouts of your current bank account balances to bring with you to viewings.[10]
  2. 2

    Dress neatly when turning in your application. Whether you are turning in your application to the owner of the apartment or a hired manager, it's true that first impressions can really influence your chances. You don't need to dress super fancy but you also don't want to call into question whether you can pay the rent by the way you dress. Convey that you are responsible and serious through the way you are dressed.

  3. 3

    Be pleasant to deal with. Once again, first impressions can influence your chances of getting the apartment of your dreams. Whether you are dealing with an owner or a manager, being pleasant to deal with can go a long way. Remember, when an owner or manager is picking the newest tenant for their apartment, they are probably considering what it will be like to deal with that person in the future. A difficult interaction to begin with may not bode will for future interactions.

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Expert Q&A

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  • Question

    What should I pay attention to when I'm looking for a new apartment?

    Nathan Miller
    Property Management Specialist

    Nathan Miller is an entrepreneur, landlord, and real estate investor. In 2009, he founded Rentec Direct, a cloud-based property management company. Today, Rentec Direct works with over 16,000 landlords and property managers across the United States, helping them manage their rentals efficiently.

    Nathan Miller

    Property Management Specialist

    Expert Answer

    Always pay attention to the neighborhood and what's nearby to see if it's somewhere you'll enjoy spending time.

    Thanks! We're glad this was helpful.
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    If wikiHow has helped you, please consider a small contribution to support us in helping more readers like you. We’re committed to providing the world with free how-to resources, and even $1 helps us in our mission.Support wikiHow

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  • Question

    How do I find the right apartment for me?

    Nathan Miller
    Property Management Specialist

    Nathan Miller is an entrepreneur, landlord, and real estate investor. In 2009, he founded Rentec Direct, a cloud-based property management company. Today, Rentec Direct works with over 16,000 landlords and property managers across the United States, helping them manage their rentals efficiently.

    Nathan Miller

    Property Management Specialist

    Expert Answer

    Look for apartments that fit in your price range and are in the area you want to live in. Then you can choose the one with the aesthetic and amenities you like the most.

    Thanks! We're glad this was helpful.
    Thank you for your feedback.
    If wikiHow has helped you, please consider a small contribution to support us in helping more readers like you. We’re committed to providing the world with free how-to resources, and even $1 helps us in our mission.Support wikiHow

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      Tips

      • You can search for and watch apartment videos. Search online for property specific addresses of the property you are interested in. See if there's a property video or virtual tour you can check out online. Watch and learn more about the apartment, condo, or house rental you're interested in. This will help you not to waste time on apartments that are not the right fit.

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      References

      1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/rent/2014/11/15/9-tips-for-an-efficient-apartment-search/
      2. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-much-rent-you-can-really-afford-renters-solutions-186462
      3. Nathan Miller. Property Management Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 October 2018.
      4. Nathan Miller. Property Management Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 October 2018.
      5. https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2012/05/21/tips-for-renting-your-first-apartment?page=2
      6. http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb/23/business/la-fi-lew-20140223
      7. https://www.weekand.com/home-garden/article/typical-commission-real-estate-agent-charges-renta-18056662.php
      8. Nathan Miller. Property Management Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 October 2018.
      9. Nathan Miller. Property Management Specialist. Expert Interview. 15 October 2018.

      More References (1)

      About this article

      4 Ways to Find an Apartment (35)

      Co-authored by:

      Nathan Miller

      Property Management Specialist

      This article was co-authored by Nathan Miller. Nathan Miller is an entrepreneur, landlord, and real estate investor. In 2009, he founded Rentec Direct, a cloud-based property management company. Today, Rentec Direct works with over 16,000 landlords and property managers across the United States, helping them manage their rentals efficiently. This article has been viewed 156,913 times.

      12 votes - 89%

      Co-authors: 30

      Updated: May 26, 2024

      Views:156,913

      Article SummaryX

      If you're looking for a new apartment, make sure to only deal with reputable companies by checking property management review websites for any concerning feedback. When in doubt, consider hiring a rental agent, who can be especially helpful when dealing with a hot market with lots of competition. Otherwise, you can always look on your own by downloading apartment search apps, which use your phone's GPS to find available places nearby, or by simply searching online for rental listings in the neighborhoods you like. For more advice, like how to inspect a potential apartment for problems, read on!

      Did this summary help you?

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      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 156,913 times.

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      4 Ways to Find an Apartment (2024)

      FAQs

      4 Ways to Find an Apartment? ›

      Fourplex is the commonly used term, but this type of multifamily property is also known as a quadplex or quadriplex. The suffix -plex refers to something made of several parts. For example, a house with two separate living units is a duplex. In the case of a fourplex, it's a building with four separate living units.

      What is a 4 apartment house? ›

      Fourplex is the commonly used term, but this type of multifamily property is also known as a quadplex or quadriplex. The suffix -plex refers to something made of several parts. For example, a house with two separate living units is a duplex. In the case of a fourplex, it's a building with four separate living units.

      How do I choose an apartment location? ›

      Location is key when it comes to choosing an apartment. Consider factors such as proximity to work or school, public transportation options, and nearby amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and parks. Do you prefer a bustling city or a quieter suburban area?

      Can AI help me find an apartment? ›

      Renty.AI revolutionizes apartment hunting by using AI to curate options perfect for you. We give you up-to-date property details with complete transparency—everything you need to know is provided up front!

      What is a 4 house called? ›

      Four-family or quadplex or quad: four living units, typically with two units on the first floor and two on the second, or side-by-side.

      What is a 2K apartment? ›

      A "1LDK" has a bedroom and a larger kitchen which can accommodate both a table and a couch. "2K" usually denotes an apartment with two bedrooms and a small kitchen, but some landlords or agents may use the term to refer to something more like a 1DK (in which the kitchen is part of the smaller "bedroom").

      How to get an apartment in NYC with no credit? ›

      Therefore, if you're renting an apartment in Manhattan or Brooklyn without credit, you will need to establish your credibility using a guardian's credit history. Once your parent or guardian is on board, your rental company will obtain their credit history via credit bureaus, NAIL, or a tenant screening device.

      How much should rent be of income? ›

      It is recommended that you spend 30% of your monthly income on rent at maximum, and to consider all the factors involved in your budget, including additional rental costs like renters insurance or your initial security deposit.

      Is a corner apartment better? ›

      A corner is a perfect option if you need office space and don't have one. Corner apartments typically have windows on each wall, which means you can get twice as much sunlight. Working near windows can help provide a healthy dose of daylight and allow you to experience better neighborhood views.

      What is it called when someone helps you find an apartment? ›

      A Realtor or real estate agent helps renters find suitable property to rent.

      Does Zillow use AI? ›

      AI is at the core of how Zillow helps people find their next home and how we turn data into insights and engaging user experiences.

      Can ChatGPT find apartments? ›

      The plugin allows users to search for apartments based on city and state.

      What is a 4 flat house? ›

      Cottage flats, also known as four-in-a-block flats, are a style of housing common in Scotland, where there are single floor dwellings at ground level, and similar dwellings on the floor above.

      What is a 3 apartment house? ›

      Definition. By definition, a T3 accommodation (or F3 when it is a house) contains three rooms: a living room (or living room) and two bedrooms. A kitchen area, or kitchenette, can be integrated into the living room, but you can also find a closed kitchen, this does not change the name T3.

      Is Fourplex a good investment? ›

      Tax benefits. Fourplexes have lower property taxes than four separate single family rental properties, making them a profitable investment. A fourplex can generate the same or more cash flow as four single-family investment properties, or three if the owner lives on-site.

      What is a 4 story apartment building called? ›

      Garden or walk-up apartments: 1–5 stories, 50–400 units, no elevators. Mid-rise apartments/condos: 5–9 stories, 30–110 units, with elevators. High-rise apartments/condos: 9+ stories, 100+ units, professionally managed. Special-purpose group housing.

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