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Find Your Perfect Apartment in 3 Steps

  • September 21, 2017
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

Step One:  Must Haves, Nice to Haves, Could Live Without

When you’re getting ready to look for an apartment, really think about your wish list. Maybe you have a pet, or you want a dishwasher, or you need three bedrooms for you and your family. You can find your perfect apartment.

Sometimes the wish list can make an apartment hard to find. It helps to prioritize. Take a piece of paper, and divide it into three areas: Must Haves, Nice to Haves and Could Live Without.  Then categorize your wish list items into of the buckets.  For instance, maybe pet-friendliness and a laundry facility in the complex fall under the Must Haves, while a dishwasher could be something you Could Live Without.  This process helps narrow down your search, and help you decide what you are willing to compromise on.

Step Two:  Knowing What You Can Afford

Now you need to determine how much you can afford each month.  Typically housing expenses, such as rent and utilities, should be approximately 25% of your budget.  But of course, this will vary by geographic location.  For example, rent in large cities such as New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles are going to be a larger portion of your budget due to the higher cost of living.

Keep utilities in mind when calculating this figure.  Many apartment rentals include some or all utilities.  If the apartment or rental you are considering does not include utilities, be sure to account for this expense in your budget.  You could ask the current tenants for average utility costs, ask the landlord, or call the utility companies for an estimate.

Step Three:  The Hunt

Now that you know your price range and list of must haves, you’re ready to find that perfect apartment.  There are several ways to search for an apartment.  You can find many different websites to search for an apartment.  Many websites offer the ability to narrow the search by location, price range and amenities.

Another option is to work with a real estate agent.  They are able to quickly match you with the type of apartment you are looking for, and can assist you by viewing these apartments.  It is important to keep in mind that there can be fees associated with working with an agent, so you will want to ask before getting started.