How to Choose the Right Apartment Complex for You

When you first begin the search for your first or next apartment, you might find a dizzying array of options available to you. Of course, you want to find the one that’s as close to perfect as possible, but each complex has its own benefits and drawbacks. Choosing the right apartment complex might seem easy – when you see an apartment, you often quickly know whether you like it – but you’ll want to consider some factors outside your apartment too. Check out some of our tips below.

Ease of parking

Like going wherever, whenever? Then you probably love your car. You might lose that love if you move into an apartment complex lacking easy parking options or a spot dedicated to your apartment. Even within that category, the type of parking can vary widely. Is it open, covered, or in a garage? Do you have to pay extra for a dedicated spot or to use the lot? That on-site parking lot can be a huge step up from typical on-street parallel parking, even if you have a residential permit. Finding street parking isn’t always easy, and if you constantly struggle to park your car, you might quickly become annoyed with your living situation.

Proximity to public transportation

If you take the bus, subway, or train to get anywhere, a long walk to your nearby transit stop on a scorching hot summer day or ice-cold winter morning might put a big dent in your day. You should thus prioritize apartments near public transit stops if you need the bus, subway, or train to get around. That second-best apartment complex a 2-minute walk away might actually be the best choice if you remember that your first-choice apartment is a full 15-minute walk to transit.

Proximity to stores and supermarkets

If you prefer having stores, banks, supermarkets, and other businesses within walking distance, then be sure to the number and types of stores and supermarkets in your area. This way, distance from shopping opportunities doesn’t stifle your ability to enjoy your new home. In some cases, you might even find mixed-use complexes that have stores and supermarkets on their ground floor, a perfect solution for your problem. 

Building amenities

Love a good summer day at the pool? If your apartment complex has a pool you can access, then you’re in luck. You can also find apartment complexes with a fitness center, extra storage lockers, a game room, a locked package or mail room, extra security, a lounge, or some other amenity that keeps the fun in your building. These amenities can be especially useful if you’re the type who likes to entertain.

Apartment amenities

Amenities shared among all complex residents are one thing. Amenities in your apartment are another. If you can’t stand the idea of traveling to the laundromat or even to your complex’s basement, prioritize apartments with an in-unit washer/dryer. If you love using your kitchen, you might want a home with stainless steel appliances. If you’re temperature-sensitive, you might fare better in the summer with central air instead of window units.

Pet rules

Not all apartments allow pets. If you have any pets or plan to adopt one soon, make sure you’re only considering pet-friendly apartments in your search, or noting how much it will cost to keep that pet in your apartment. You might be tempted to hide pets from landlords or property managers to keep your apartment search options open and avoid pet fees, but this idea is among the worst you can consider.

Noise levels

If you prefer a quiet home to one in which the bustle of outside life bleeds in, consider apartments that are well-soundproofed or located in less heavily trafficked areas. An apartment on a side street rather than a busy block or intersection is worth the extra walk if you’re a light sleeper or someone who needs a serene, peaceful home. If this sounds like you and you’re a public transit person, don’t fool yourself into taking that apartment right next to the train tracks – those grinding, screeching gears might not be worth the convenience.

Complex-specific perks

Though rare, living at certain apartment complexes – almost always luxury rentals – may come with unique local perks. Some luxury rentals, for example, give renters constant discounts at nearby restaurants, gyms, or other locations. You’ll likely struggle to find a new apartment if you prioritize complex-specific perks, but if you encounter them, be sure to factor them into your search.

What else would you want in an apartment complex perfect for you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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