If you’ve ever tried remotely searching for an apartment in a new city, then you know it’s not exactly easy.
When I was still living in Des Moines, Iowa, but planning my move to Denver, I spent hours on the internet, just searching for apartments. After figuring out which neighborhoods I wanted to focus on, I did a Google search for “apartments in (neighborhood name)” or “(neighborhood name) apartments.” Sometimes, these searches brought a lot of results, but when I further investigated the apartments that came up, they either looked old and dirty and didn’t have very good reviews (bugs, mice, etc.), or were way too expensive. I had a really difficult time finding a balance—a place that looked nice and comfortable, in a neighborhood where I wanted to live, but wasn’t a luxury loft. I realized that I needed some more specialized than a generic Google search.
I started searching for apartments on Craigslist, and came across some interesting possibilities. In just couple days, I found one apartment that looked interesting, as well as some alternative rental options, like renting a room in someone’s house. Even if you don’t see something right away, keep in mind that Craigslist changes all the time – there are always new posts going up and old posts coming down. Be sure to check regularly so you don’t miss out on any opportunities! If you’re looking for roommates or a roommate apartment, Craigslist is not a bad place to look; just be wary of scams and stranger danger.
I also started doing some personal networking to search for neighborhoods and apartments. I belong to a group on LinkedIn of students and alumni from my alma mater. There is a large alumni population in the Denver area, so I posted a question on the group asking if anyone had suggestions for apartments and neighborhoods where I should search. I ended up looking at several places that were suggested by other members of the group.
One thing I wish I had known more about prior to my apartment search is the multitude of apartment search apps available. These apps, seem like very helpful resources, and I will definitely use them the next time I am in the market for an apartment.
Prior to the big move, I had arranged to visit Denver for a long weekend to actually see some of the apartments I had found online. I made appointments at quite a few different places, but when I actually came to Denver to look at apartments in person, I realized that most of my online research really didn’t do me much good. I ended up just driving around Denver, and when I saw an apartment complex or building that interested me, I would stop, go into the leasing office, and ask for information about the apartments and the area. Some were too expensive and some had no availability for when I needed to move in, but it was definitely worth making the visit in person to find places I would not have found online and to get a feel for the area.
I’m very happy with where I currently live; however, I think that, had I approached the apartment search differently,researched more about the different neighborhoods and spent more time searching in-person, I could have found a larger apartment for a more reasonable price in a part of town closer to downtown.
Although the internet does offer a lot of great searching resources, and you can go through an apartment rental process completely online (one of my coworkers did—she never saw her apartment in person until her move-in day), that approach doesn’t always work as well as one might hope. I wanted to see where I would be living, and get a feel for the area and neighborhood. My mom compared the apartment search to a college search—you can’t really just make a list of pros and cons and select a place based on that. You have to pay attention to how it feels—you want a place that will feel like home.