I recently did thorough searching on a new apt and let me tell you…it suuuucked. I even started 2 months early because best places get snatched up in less than a day! My boyfriend and I currently live in a very spacious apt, with a doorman, and elevator. Sounds wonderful right? Well, we have a dog..and living in a high rise with a dog is not fun. Especially when you’re boyfriend works crazy hours and YOU aka ME…have to take the dog out all the time. Plus, we live across the street from a LOUD seedy hotel with people screaming obscenities during all hours of the night. Not to mention we pay $1900 smackers a month. Granted, location is great (only 10 min walk to the hospital where my boyfriend works) but we just can’t get over the noise, the high rise…and the fact we have no outdoor space. Ok, now onto what you need to do when finding a new place.
1) Use different sites. My recommendations are (Padmapper, Craigslist,, and Hotpads)
2) Use the least amt of filters possible. Ex: I have pets and would have never found my place if I left the “pet filter” on. Some users simply forget to select the “pet friendly” box and many times people will negotiate pets if they feel you will be a good tenant.
3) Negotiate lease time and rent. You can negotiate lower rent if you stay for longer. Try it. It works most of the time. We locked in a price of 1600 for 3 years with no pet fee!!!
4) Do a walk by. If you live in the area check out the neighborhood and try to get a look of the place from the outside. Sometimes, it’s not even worth looking at a place if you don’t feel safe or comfortable walking around the streets.
5) Try to find a realtor if you can. They can typically negotiate better than you can and know of rentals before they are listed.
6) If you love a place, don’t wait. You have to have a check in hand and tell them you want it. Many times we lost out b/c we couldn’t make up our minds. Ask for an application before seeing the place and have it filled out.
7) Make a spreadsheet. Sounds dorky, but it really helps make the decision process easier. You can see the pros/cons and expenses all in one spot. (If you aren’t good with excel and need a template, let me know and I can send one over)
8) Email ALL the listings you are interested in. Ask questions, lots of them. If I saw a place that looked promising I would ask about outdoor space, w/d etc. because they weren’t listed. Turns out a lot of them had those features but just didn’t think to list them.
9) Beware of scams…if it’s too good to be true, it is. I only had one encounter but I spotted it pretty quickly. Never put money down on a place before viewing it and make sure to do your research on the realtor/landlord to make sure they are real people.
10) NOTHING IS PERFECT. Once you do find a place you will critique it no end. Face it, there is always going to be something wrong. Shut up and realize you are officially done with the search and you can look forward to moving into your new place.
Happy Apt Hunting :)