Posted on Jan 12, 2018
Choosing an apartment is one of the most important decisions you can make — at least for the duration of your lease. Yet many renters commit one or more apartment search mistakes when seeking their next rental unit. Below, learn what not to do when apartment hunting to find an apartment you’ll be happy you took.
Exceeding your budget
Conventional apartment hunting tips recommend your rent costs represent no more than one-third of your monthly income. Exceeding either this limit or your personal budget for affordable rent can be a costly mistake. The more you pay in rent, the less you have to cover life’s little emergencies, such as new brakes for the car you use to commute to work.
Many apartment hunters are tempted to stretch their budgets when they find a place they love. To curb this impulse, keep emotions out of your apartment search. This is a very important apartment hunting mistake to avoid, as going over your budget could potentially cause issues in the future.
Don’t assume something is true unless you get independent verification from the landlord or property manager that your hunch is correct. When making assumptions, you risk being disappointed after you sign the lease if your impression was wrong.
Moving too quickly …. or too slowly
If the rental market is tight where you live, there may be few available properties that fit your needs. This stress could make you overeager to commit to the first reasonable apartment you see without thinking the details through. Always take a step back to evaluate whether something is a fit before you commit.
Instead of moving too fast, some renters move too slow because they take too long in the decision-making phase. By the time they’re ready to sign a lease, the landlord may have found another tenant. If you can’t decide whether something is a good fit, it’s probably not right for you.
Not thinking about your commute
If you commute for work, how will your commute be affected by your new apartment? Use a GPS to check the commute time from an apartment to your job, then back again. Check around the time you leave for work to get realistic figures for your commute. If you don’t check, you risk winding up with a lengthy commute, which impacts your quality of life.
Skimming the lease
While many landlords use a boilerplate lease template — including many who belong to American Apartment Owners Association and use the member forms library — some have custom clauses within the lease that affect your use of the apartment. If you skim the lease, you won’t fully take in something that could affect you for the duration of the lease. Take the time to read the lease, and ask the landlord or property manager to explain any legal terms you do not understand. Don’t let someone pressure you into signing the lease on the spot; make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to before you sign. The lease is a legally binding contract, so this is key.
With these apartment search tips in mind, you can avoid selecting an apartment that does not meet your needs or budget while increasing your satisfaction with the apartment you find.