The Ultimate Apartment Shopper’s Guide

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Shopping around for an apartment but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place. This apartment shopper’s guide gives you the basics on apartment shopping to help you make an informed decision in 8 simple and easy steps!

1. Understand The Importance Of Location

When you’re looking to rent an apartment, location is one of the most important factors to consider. Ask yourself these questions –

  • Do you drive to work or prefer to take public transportation?
  • Do you want to be close to your place of work, children’s schools, fitness centers, and/or shopping centers?
  • How much are you willing to travel? Could an apartment closer to your job cut down on commute time and provide a better work-life balance?

The closer you are to your daily routine, the less time spent on travel. But, sometimes the price may not always fit into your budget. Decide how much you’re willing to travel and choose a location that works best. Then, once you have a location(s) in mind, proceed to the next step of this apartment shopper’s guide.

2. Decide How Many Bedrooms You Need

Do Apartments Have 4 Bedrooms | Den Bedroom |

Apartments come in different sizes – studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedrooms are the most common. So, you’ll need to choose something that fits your lifestyle. How? Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many people are you going to live with? If you’re single, a studio or 1-bedroom apartment will likely be just right. Families may want bigger apartments.
  • Do you have roommates? If so, you’ll almost certainly need a 2 or 3-bedroom.
  • What lifestyle do you want? Would you prefer a guest bedroom for visitors?

3. List the Apartment Amenities You’d Prefer

1 Bedroom Apartment Shown with Balcony

Every apartment can come with different amenities or features that can make your life easier, while others may offer shared communal facilities. Consider these –

  • Is there a built-in washer and dryer or at least a facility where you can do laundry on-site?
  • Does the apartment come with a dishwasher?
  • Is there a balcony?
  • Does the apartment have enough insulation and sound control so you don’t have to hear noisy neighbors every day?
  • What type of flooring is there for sound control?

Fully understand the apartment amenities in advance so you don’t end up surprised later.

4. Learn The Complex Amenities Available

In addition to amenities inside the apartment itself, there can be amenities offered to the greater complex. If you’re the type of person who likes to be active, find out about the amenities provided in the apartment complex.

Pool Etiquette | Fenced Entrance to Pool |

Consider these –

  • Does the apartment complex have a pool, gym or club room?
  • Are there walking paths or greenery?
  • Are there any sporting facilities like tennis and basketball courts in the complex?
  • What is the cost (if any) of the apartment amenities

Keep in mind that apartments with these amenities may cost a little more. But if you live an active lifestyle, having these at your doorstep can be a big bonus.

5. Understand Apartment Pricing

Apartment pricing is an important factor when choosing where to live. Take a look at these considerations –

  • What is the rent every month and what does it cover? Usually, rent covers the base cost of the apartment. Utilities like water, Internet gas and electricity may be extra.
  • What security deposit amount do you have to pay?
  • Are there any fees for your rental application?
  • Do you pay additional fees for complex amenities or is that included in your rent? What other fees are there?

6. Begin Your Apartment Search

What Are the Different Types of Apartment Tours | Self-Guided and Virtual Sign |

Once you understand the apartment process (above), begin the next step of the apartment shopper’s guide by simply typing what you want into your preferred search engine (for example: Apartments for Rent in Northeast Philadelphia or Apartments for Rent in Old City Philadelphia). Be sure the apartments meet your checklist, and jot down the name, phone number, and physical address of those that do.

7. Tour Apartment Options

Once you have your list of apartments, begin touring different apartments. Don’t just rely on the Internet for images. Tour every apartment to get a feel of it. You might want to call each apartment ahead of time to see if you need to schedule an appointment. Consider these –

  • Are the bedrooms big enough to fit into your lifestyle needs?
  • Are there enough amenities in the apartment and complex?
  • Does the kitchen provide all the facilities you need?
  • Are you happy with the overall size of the apartment?

Once you tour multiple apartments, start comparing apartments and narrow down your choices based on your lifestyle.

8. Read Legal Documents

Check Online |

Once you decide where you want to live, always make sure you read and understand the legal documents before committing to any lease. Here are some common items you can look out for –

  • Are you allowed to have pets?
  • Are you allowed to sublet (i.e. re-rent to someone else) or have roommates?
  • How much notice is required if you decide to move out?
  • What is the penalty should you need to breach your lease?
  • Does the apartment come with parking?
  • Do you need renter’s insurance?

Be sure of everything before committing.

Once all the legwork is done, you will have completed all the steps in this apartment shopper’s guide. You will be ready to move into your new apartment.

Once you move in, check out this shopper’s guide to apartment furniture. This apartment shopper’s guide is meant as a starter and there of course are other items to consider. With this in hand though, you’re well on your way.


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