Tips On Apartment Hunting
Timing is Crucial
The housing market is competitive, especially for affordable
apartments. Be prepared to make decisions quickly and be flexible by
a week or two with your plans. Start your search no earlier than
four weeks before your desired move-in date since tenants are not
required to give landlords more than 30 days’ notice of their
move-out dates. Make apartment hunting your life for two or three
weeks - that should be enough time to get familiar with the market
and find what you are looking for.
Focus Your Search According to Your Budget
Sometimes you will likely be forced to make compromises in your
choice because of an expensive housing market Monthly rents
will vary depending on several factors; the most important of which
is location, followed by apartment size and then amenities.
Decide if You Are Willing to Share an Apartment – You can cut costs
by sharing a large one bedroom.
Consider Where You Can Afford to Live -
Determine What Size Apartment Fits Your Budget and What Amenities
You Can Do Without - Squeezing into a smaller apartment than your
ideal and a willingness to accept some commonly perceived flaws such
as street noise or lack of view or natural light may save you some
money. In addition, rents will vary with the type of building
in which the apartment is located such as whether or not the
building has a doorman or an elevator.
Methods of Searching - Fee v. No Fee Rentals
If you can afford to pay a broker's fee, searching with a broker is
highly recommended for convenience. Brokers can give you an overview
of the market, guide you in your search, and facilitate the
paperwork for you. Some landlords list apartment availabilities
exclusively through brokers.
Brokers charge a commission for their services. It can
range from one month's rent to 12% of the year's rent. The fee is
payable only at the time of lease signing.
If you prefer not to pay a broker's fee, "no fee" searching options
Classified Ads - look for ads that say "no fee" or "by owner" as
well as ads for sublets and shares.
Landlords and Management Companies - Call directly and ask for a
list of their vacancies.
Financial Requirements and What to Bring on Your Apartment Search
In order to rent an apartment, you will be asked to complete an
application, by your prospective landlord. You may also be required
to pay for credit reports and/or application fees. Landlords
want to see evidence of steady income and good credit.
Financial Requirements - Most landlords require that the prospective
tenant have an income equal to 40-45 times the monthly rent in
annual salary (combined income is used for roommates). You and your
roommate will need to have all of your income verification paperwork
readily available upon application for an apartment.
If you are a full time student or do not meet all the financial
requirements, most landlords will require a lease co-signer or
guarantor. A guarantor is an individual, typically a family member,
who lives in the U.S. Guarantors are asked to disclose
detailed financial information and have a credit report run on them
as part of the approval process. The guarantor's income needs to be
at least 75 times the monthly rent and they will also need to submit
the paperwork listed below.
Funds - When the landlord approves your apartment application, be
prepared to pay the first month's rent and the security deposit upon
lease signing. Most landlords require that these funds be paid in
the form of separate certified checks or money orders.
An additional certified check or money order
will be required at the time of lease signing to pay the broker's
fee, if applicable.
Necessary Documents - Bring the following items with you when you
start looking for apartments:
Letter from your current employer stating your salary or from a CPA
if you are a freelance worker or a business owner
First two pages of last year's tax return
Most recent bank statement(s), bank account numbers and credit card
Most recent pay stub(s)
Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous landlords
Names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business
Photo I.D. such as driver's license or passport
Leases are important for clarification of the responsibilities of
the landlord and tenant. If you don't have a lease, the landlord
could ask you to leave or raise your rent on short notice. In
addition, factors, such as when your rent is due, if pets are
allowed and who is responsible for maintenance need to be clear. The
type of lease you will be asked to sign can vary with the type of
apartment and building in which it is located. Any changes to
the standard lease are usually included in a separate lease rider.
Leases are for one or two years and generally begin on the 1st or
the 15th of the month.
Typically, the apartment will be unfurnished and will be located in
a rental building that is owned by the landlord. Some apartments may
be protected by rent regulations. A rent-regulated apartment is
subject to limits on the amount that owners can raise the rent for
vacant apartments and renewals of existing leases. Tenants in
rent-regulated apartments have the right to renew the lease provided
they’re in compliance with all lease terms and conditions.
Rent-regulated tenants have the right to sublease the apartment with
the landlord's permission.
Apartment Hunting Tips for Students
One of the complex problems for a student is to find a new place to
live. The process of searching a home includes several factors such
as location, lease terms, amenities and affordability. Though the
process is exhausting, the students have to find a place on their
The apartment hunting tips help the students organize their home
search. To make their dream come true, students can try the tips
Start your search early
If you want to reside in an apartment nearer to the campus, begin
searching for the home months in advance.
Apartment Hunting is work
The home search process can be made cost effective by following
Contact the student housing office and investigate university-owned
Try through famous bulletin boards and posting locations near the
Search the neighborhoods near campus for “For Rent” signs.
Look for apartment listings in local news papers and enquire for the
Do not approach any real estate agent and apartment locators as they
charge high cost.
Know what you're looking for and how much you can afford
Go for financial plan based on rent cost, utilities, and phone. Then
decide the facilities required that includes an air-conditioner, a
dishwasher, and a washer/dryer. Some times you need to pay the first
and last month rent included with security deposit. You can also
live with one or more roommates to reduce expenses and enjoy the
social aspects of student life.
Transit and Transportation
Find out whether your campus is at a walk able distance from the
apartment and convenient to public transportation. Also check for
your vehicle security and parking facilities.
Peace and quiet, safe and secure
Choose an apartment that is secure, comfortable and located in a
quite area. Also ensure the security measures of the apartment such
Inspect the place carefully
Before choosing the apartment, enquire about its location. Examine
the basic necessities in kitchen, bathroom etc. and the cleanliness.
Check for leakages or damage in the areas like sinks and toilets.
Also ensure the ventilation of the apartment. Take opinion from
other residents of the apartment regarding the maintenance and other
Sign on the dotted line and get it in writing
Read the lease agreement thoroughly before signing. You can also
take help of your parents or relatives. Ask the landlord for repairs
and do not forget to get these in writing. You can sign the
agreement after carefully investigating.