How To Find the Perfect Apartment for Rent
Arguably, the most challenging part about moving is finding your new home. The search to find the perfect apartment to suit your needs is one you have to be prepared for. There are many factors to take into consideration when selecting an apartment. More often than not, there are several people bidding for the same apartment.
In this article, we’ll be discussing how to get the apartment you want and outlining everything you need to know during your apartment hunt. So whether it’s your first apartment or not, here’s on how to find the perfect apartment for rent.
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1. Take a Look at Some of the Best Apartment Rental Sites
The first step in apartment hunting is browsing online. This is a great way to get a feel of things and to know what the price range is like in your selected area. Let’s take a look at some of the best apartment rental sites.
- Kijiji – Kijiji is an online advertising platform organized by city and region. This makes it one of the best sites for apartment rentals because it shows you apartments in specific locations.
- Facebook Marketplace – On Facebook and Facebook Marketplace, you can find apartments for long-term and short-term rent.
Some other sites to find an apartment for rent include;
It is also important to always compare prices. If you find an apartment you like in a certain area, compare the apartment and the price of the apartment with other apartments. This will ensure you’re not getting overcharged.
2. Find an Affordable Apartment
It is quite easy to find the perfect apartment; however, the same cannot be said for affordable apartments. More often than not, you’ll find apartments that you absolutely love; however, they may be out of your price range. This is where compromising comes in. Here are a few ways to find an affordable apartment.
- Use filters – If you’re searching online, which is most likely the case, you should consider using the price filter on whichever website you’re using. This will save you the heartache of looking at apartments that are out of your price range. Setting a price filter also helps you make decisions faster and stick to your original budget. The price filter should be the lowest amount you’re willing to pay and the highest amount you’re willing to pay.
- Search further from the city center – Living in the city center has its benefits. For one, you’ll probably be closer to work, events, and other activities. The downside is apartments in the city center tend to be more expensive because of the perks they offer. Consider searching further away from the city center to find more affordable options.
- Downsize a bit – Another factor that could be leading to your search for high-priced apartments is the size of the apartment you want. More space often costs more money. If you still want to live in the city center, consider downsizing and opting for a smaller apartment.
- Negotiate – Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a lower price. This may seem scary, but landlords are often open to negotiation as long as it is done politely.
3. Avoid Scams When Renting an Apartment
Unfortunately, because a lot of apartment searching happens online, scammers are rampant. There are things to look out for when you want to rent an apartment. Here is how to avoid scams when renting an apartment:
- Picture scams – Never believe the pictures alone. It would be best if you visited the apartment before agreeing to rent it. Pictures can be edited, and they do not provide the full experience. A picture will not tell you if the walls are thin or if the apartment is close to a busy road.
- Dealing in cash only – It’s often a bad sign if your landlord wants you to pay only in cash or via wire transfer. These types of payments are not easy to track; therefore, you have no actual evidence of payment.
- Sign a written lease – A verbal agreement is not always the best way to agree to a lease, and neither is a handshake. Ensure that you and your landlord sign a written lease and ensure you have a copy of the original contract.
- Meet the landlord – You need to meet the landlord because the written lease needs to be signed.
- Do Research on the area – It’s important to research the area and apartment you’re moving into before actually moving in. You can find reviews on Google for many buildings and especially condos, and one of the best ways to conduct thorough research is by talking to previous and current tenants. Previous tenants are usually very direct about their experience in the apartment, which will help you make your decision.
- Compare prices – It’s important to compare prices. It would help if you compared the price of your apartment to other apartments in the area as well as other apartments in your building. Sometimes, some people have higher rents because they have newer leases. If you’re signing a new lease and have noticeably lower rent, it is often not a good sign. There might be something wrong with your rental unit.
- Rushing transactions – Finally, is the process being rushed? Is the landlord not asking for any background information? If this is the case, then there may be a scam happening. All registered landlords will ask for background info like credit score because it shows them if you can afford the rental unit. If they do not ask for any of this information, something is amiss.
Hiring a moving company when moving into your new apartment? Here’s how to tell if a moving company is a scam.
4. Be Prepared in Advance
While you are searching for apartments, it is important to be prepared in advance. Here are the steps you should take.
- Employment proof letter – This is a letter from your employer showing proof that you are employed. Landlords ask for this because they need evidence of financial capability.
- Paychecks/tax return – You should also prepare your paychecks, and for those who are self-employed, tax returns are also accepted.
- Letter of recommendation: A letter of recommendation is simply a letter that can be written and signed by a previous landlord, colleague, roommate, supervisor, or mentor. A letter of recommendation is written to confirm that you are a responsible person.
- Deposit – You should prepare the deposit for the apartment and bring it along with you. This could be in a cheque form.
- Dress nicely – Dress nicely to make a good first impression on your landlord.
- Be polite – Being polite and respectful is essential when apartment hunting because you want to create a good lasting impression.
5. Pay Close Attention During Your Walk Through
During your apartment walk through, there are a few things to take note of. Here are the things to pay close attention to during your walk through:
- Fridge and freezer – The refrigerator and freezer should be clean and functioning.
- Kitchen sink – Is the sink working? Does the faucet link? Is the structure sound?
- Dishwasher – The dishwasher should be clean and functioning.
- Cell signal – Ensure your phone has cell service and internet signal. This is extremely important.
- Washer and dryer – If the apartment comes with its washer and dryer, check to make sure they work. If they do not work, there should be a communal laundry room or it will be a hassle to always go to the laundromat.
- Structural integrity – Check to see if there are any medium to large cracks in the walls.
- Plumbing – Ensure the plumbing works well.
- Heater and air conditioning – These two should be working. One way to know if they’re not is if the apartment smells wet and moldy.
- Electrical outlets – The outlets should be working and in good quality without any exposed wires.
- Smoke detectors – Check if the smoke detector is connected and functioning
- Doors and windows – The window handles and the door knobs should be working well.
- Water damage – Check the walls and ceilings for water damage. Water damage can be very threatening to the structural integrity of a building.
6. Ask the Right Questions
Before signing a lease, there are questions you should ask your landlord. It may sound confusing, but you should always ask the right questions. These questions are essential, and you should never assume that things will be the way they were at your previous apartments. Here are some questions to ask:
- How much is the security deposit?
- Is the lease a fixed or periodic agreement due for renewal regularly?
- Are the utilities included in the rent?
- Is there a rent breakdown?
- Are they any non-refundable fees, and what are they for?
- Will you receive your security deposit when you leave or have it used as the last month’s rent?
- Are there any rules on having pets in the building?
- Is there a late fee policy for late rent payments?
- Is there parking available?
- Are there any unauthorized occupants?
- Finally, what will happen during maintenance emergencies, and who is responsible for maintenance?
These questions help you make better-informed decisions. In some situations, the rent may seem affordable; however, utilities may not be included, which means you’ll be paying for more than you expected.
It is extremely important to carefully read the rental lease agreement. They should be written in simple and concise sentences. Here are a few important things you should pay attention to in your rental lease agreement.
- Due date and rent amount – Landlords are usually allowed to dictate when rent is due as long as there are 30 days between the last and the following rent. Most of the time, it is on the first of the month. The exact date should be written in the lease along with the late fee policy and whether or not there is a grace period before you have to pay the late fee. The exact amount of rent should also be included in the rental lease. You should ensure the amount in the lease matches the amount you were told.
- Renewal and termination – Most landlords prefer a year-long lease. The terms for renewal of the lease or termination of the lease should be clearly stated in the rental lease agreement.
- Subletting – Subletting occurs when the tenant has to leave the apartment for an extended period but is unwilling to break the lease. Subletting is when someone else lives in the rental unit. Your rental lease agreement should clearly outline the landlord’s stance on subletting.
- Maintenance – This was included in the previous section. The lease should mention who is responsible for maintenance; the landlord or the tenant.
- Pets – This was also included in the previous section. If you have a pet or plan to have a pet, it is important that your lease is accommodating so you don’t have to pay extra or terminate your lease.
Some other things to take note of are the guest policy and tenant insurance, which we’ll discuss in the next section.
There are many ways to find the perfect apartment for rent, and we discussed most of them in this article. One method we didn’t touch on is working with a real estate agent. Realtors often have access to apartments that aren’t available to the public market. If you’re looking for something special, a realtor will be of great assistance.
Another important part of moving into an apartment is tenant’s insurance. Tenant’s insurance covers your belongings in case of theft or damage. This is a great way to ensure your items and have a great backup plan.
This article discussed a variety of methods you can use while searching for your perfect apartment. It also includes a step-by-step guide on renting an apartment. With this article in hand, you should know exactly how to find the perfect apartment for rent.
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