Finding the perfect apartment quickly can seem like an extra challenge, but it can be done in one (active, busy) day or weekend with a few different visits! These tips are perfect for someone who doesn’t have a ton of free time to wander around the city or for someone trying to find their perfect apartment in a new city on one visit. By keeping organized and thinking ahead, it’s more than possible to set out to find your perfect apartment and sign the lease that day!
Do your homework
Now, you won’t get your apartment settled in one day if you hadn’t done your homework! Use apartment finder websites and Google searches to identify apartment buildings and complexes with open units in your area. On rental websites most apartments will showcase photos and floorplans. Also, take time to research the area surrounding the apartment to ensure it’s safe and close to work or friends!
Once you’ve done this homework, you should have a few perfect apartment options that you’d like to visit.
Narrow down your must-haves
Before stepping foot on your first tour, make a list of all of your “must-haves,” then go through and narrow to your top few items. Maybe your must-have is a pet-friendly apartment but you’d prefer a second-story. Or, you must-have two bedrooms for your and your roommate and would prefer an updated kitchen. Your list of must-haves should be small – just a few key items – then have your preferences in your back pocket as well.
Get solid on your budget
Again, before you step foot in any of the apartments you love online, get very clear on your budget. Check out this resource and this one to calculate your target spend and look through your bank statements and payment information. Once you’re comfortable with what to spend on rent and utilities, make a note of the top of your budget for the apartment all-in (i.e. rent, internet and cable, utilities) and recognize that you should aim for rent / utilities lower than the top of your budget.
Get your paperwork ready
A prospective landlord will want to know that you are a responsible tenant, so you should have your paperwork ready to show that. In the minimum, he’ll want to see couple of years of tax returns, plus 2-3 months of bank statements and pay stubs that show how you will afford your rent. Have this information ready in a folder as you get ready for touring apartments.
Schedule apartment tours and optimize your route
Now that you’ve narrowed down your apartment list, choose an open day and schedule those tours! Start with an early morning and plan your route, something like this:
- 8:30am – Travel to Apartment 1
- 9am – Tour Apartment 1
- Allow time here! Even if you make an appointment, sometimes landlords are busy or running late. Plus, give yourself time to speak with them to answer questions and to take notes in transit to the next place.
- 11am – Travel to Apartment 2
- 11:15am – Tour Apartment 2
- 1pm – Grab quick lunch!
- 1:30pm – Travel to Apartment 3
- 2pm – Tour Apartment 3
- 4pm – Find a quiet place to think through your lists and decide which apartment works best for YOU!
- If you love one of the apartments, this gives you time to make it back to sign your lease before the leasing office closes that day!
Plan in sustenance
No lies here – this is a long day! Plan in time for a quick lunch, pack snacks or water in your bag, and come prepared to move quickly!
Reap the rewards!
Now that you’ve toured and selected your perfect apartment, reap the rewards! Ask the landlord if they offer any deals for signing that day or what options they may have available. Remember, it can never hurt to ask!