5 Apartment-Hunting Secrets That You Need To Know
When you’re apartment-hunting, there are a number of things you need to take into account. The following are a few tips to help you plan out the hunt strategically, getting the most value for your money. Remember, an apartment is not an investment in your future directly, but indirectly.
With a motorhome, a prefabricated unit, or a home you’re paying a mortgage on, when the smoke clears, you have property. You have an asset. With an apartment, you’re never going to own the space in which you live. What this means is, you want to get the lowest possible price you can.
But you can’t go bottom dollar, or you’ll end up in a run down apartment. There’s a balance, here. The following are a few tips you can use to help you ensure you get the best possible apartment you can.
1. Shop Around
Do not go with the first apartment you see. This is a common “rookie” mistake. You need to look at a minimum of three; more is fine. Try to do this part quickly, as in a competitive rental market like Boston, apartments can get rented out from under you very quickly. Ideally look at every apartment the same day so everything is fresh in your mind and you can make the best decision – otherwise you are simply chasing the second best apartment as the best one will almost always rent first and you will end up frustrated. Do not making looking for an apartment a one month. Go on one apartment showing once per week, because the market moves too fast. A properly priced apartment in Boston rents within 7 days or less.
However, don’t be pressured by those who are showing the unit. Take notes on all properties, if they are vacant perhaps take pictures so you can remember everything. Check it out, check others out, take your time, weigh your options, and make the best choice accordingly. Signing a bad lease to save you time will end up costing you money in the long run. But remember nearly 70% of all apartments have 9/1 move in dates in Greater Boston; so as you get into July your options begin to dwindle rapidly. August can often times have few good apartments left to grab; especially in highly sought after areas.
2. Choose A Neighborhood That Fits You
What do you like to do? Do you like to do it far from home, or nearby? Especially if you’re in a larger city, you can find an apartment right in the center of all the things you love. For example, Dallas has a prodigious arts community, it’s got shopping districts, and so much more. Boston is very dense and tight; and a quick uber ride can get you to most places without breaking the bank.
You can read more about Dallas apartments centered in the arts community by following the link; according to the site, this community is: “Best known for its historic loft-style buildings and thriving music scene. Deep Ellum is filled with street art, music venues, bars and brew pubs.”
Figure out what your best fit is in terms of local community, and look for units that are affordable, and near these areas. What you pay in increased rent is offset by what you save in time and travel costs, as well as vehicle wear-and-tear. Traffic can be a resource killer. It costs you approximately 61 cents per mile.
If you’re driving thirty miles a day, that’s $18.30 per day, or an average of $6,679.5 a year. Now that’s only 10,950 miles. Most people average around 15k miles a year, for a total cost of $9k+. If you’re paying $750 a month, that’s $9k a year. Well, if you can cut down driving substantially, then you can offset that cost.
3. Gas, Or Electric?
Your climate will be a big determiner when it comes to gas or electric power Generally, gas power is cheaper than electric solutions; unless you’re in a position where you must use heating or cooling continuously. Know your climate, and what kind of appliances you’ll be using throughout your stay at an apartment. You want to reduce the cost of your utility bill.
4. Living Arrangements Through Management Agreements
Sometimes you’re able to find living arrangements which are mingled with management duties. Different states have different laws so it is important that you understand your options. If you can work with those who run your apartment complex in some kind of discount or barter capacity, for relatively little work, you can off-set your rent, allowing you to save more money over time. Talk to your landlord and see what kind of duties they may need assistance with. At the very least, you may be able to discount your rent.
5. The Balanced Approach
You want to have a balanced approach to your apartment rental. The cheapest solution in the worst part of town will cost you collaterally. A cheap solution outside of town will also cost you in terms of travel. Too much luxury costs you, to little luxury costs you. The best solution will often be in the middle.
Finding Your Best Apartment
You need to look at multiple apartments, find a neighborhood that matches your goals, determine if gas or electric is best for your particular environment, as well as whether you can make any deals with landlords. Finally, all these things must be balanced. If you can do that, you will maximize what you get out of the apartment you choose.