How to Find an Apartment: Search for Apartments with Little Stress

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Having to find a new apartment is a stressful task, especially when it is in a new location which adds to the stress because of the additional time and money that is needed. Knowing how to find an apartment that meets every need doesn’t have to be stressful. Knowing how to find an apartment will cut down on the stress and time.

How to Find the Right Apartment

I have a daughter who needs to find a new apartment in Boston and I have a sister who is a real estate agent familiar with the Boston area. Being a good mother, I called my sister and asked her advice on looking for Boston, MA apartments. To help my daughter find the right apartment, she offered these tips:

  1. Most important – calculate your housing expense budget, including rent, utilities, parking fees if needed, additional pet fee (if allowed) – will you consider having a roommate to share the expenses?
  2. List requirements for the apartment itself: garden or duplex, one story or two, storage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry, parking/garage, distance from work or college
  3. List all amenities in order of importance, such as security, location to shopping, transportation, pool, air conditioning, microwave, dishwasher, cable or satellite, recreation facilities, etc.
  4. Research cost of utilities if they aren’t included in the rent (when you find an apartment you like – ask to see copies of utility bills for accurate budgeting before you sign the lease)
  5. Check to see if your cell phone company has a strong signal (my son found his didn’t when he moved into his apartment only 20 miles from where he previously lived even though the company boasted they did)
  6. Call the local police department and ask about crime rates – find which areas are the safest before you start searching for your apartment
  7. When visiting the apartments, inspect ceilings, walls, floors for signs of water damage from flooding, leaking pipes or roof; test all electrical switches and look for safety outlets near sinks; flush toilets and run faucets; listen for noise – visit at different times of the day when you narrow down your preferences (remember – some neighborhoods may be noisier in the warm weather than in the winter when most people stay indoors)
  8. If there is a pool, check what times the pool is open. Will you be bothered by the noise?
  9. What is the age of the neighbors? Are they young and of the partying age, are they families with lots of children running around, or are they of the quieter older adult age who like it quiet early in the evening? Decide which fits your lifestyle the best.
  10. In addition to obtaining the above information, ask the landlord if your move-in date is agreeable, what date of the month your rent is due, how much security is needed, what decorating you are allowed to do (painting other colors, hooks in walls, etc.)

Be Prepared Before You Start to Find an Apartment

Before you start your search, check the apartment rental listings found in the newspapers, often in booklets found in supermarkets, and reputable online sources. A rental agent can give you additional information on the neighborhoods and can help you negotiate a lease, if need be. Preparing your personal information such as previous addresses, employer, and income can help you save time when completing the rental application.  My sister says that if her advice is followed, it will help reduce the stress of searching for the right apartment.

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