3 Things To Do To Survive The Circus Of Apartment Hunting

Renting an apartment can be anyone's worst nightmare. Looking for a place to move into is hard enough; trying to balance your desires for a quality place and location and landlord with a tight budget is like trying to wrestle a lion on a tightrope. It may sound entertaining, but it takes a lot of skill, and many think it's impossible.

It is most definitely like a circus. These three tips might not make the job any easier--in fact, it will take even more time. But they will make sure that you end up with a place you can live in, and make your search for apartments for rent worthwhile. 

1. Read the Contract

How often are you presented with a contract and don't read it? You might be able to get away with it when it's the "Terms and Agreement" before an online game or app download, but a renter's contract is not the time to skim or skip. All the details you need to know will be written in the contract:

  • Move-in fees
  • Beginning and end of the lease
  • Guest policies
  • Who is responsible for what utilities

Often, these details will tell you if you really can afford the apartment. In addition, not knowing this information can lead to many problems down the road, including disagreements with your landlord and even lawsuits. Understanding your contract is key, so read it carefully and don't be afraid to ask questions if something is left unclear or unanswered.

2. Talk With the Neighbors

While you're looking around your potential place, get to know your new neighbors preemptively. From the minute they open the door, you might decide you don't want to live next to them. But more likely, you'll be able to talk to them about the area. Is it safe? Noisy? What are the other people like? If it's an apartment building where everyone is under the same management, they will be able to tell you about the landlords little quirks. Does he stop in frequently? Will she be lenient with rent in case of emergencies? Other people will be much more open about both the good and the bad of the area.

Remember to visit the area on nights and weekends, too. Perhaps a quiet daytime corner gets rowdy during a party. 

3. Check that Everything Works

You don't want to get stuck in an unbreakable lease only to realize after you're moved in that the water pressure is horrible and the outlets don't work. When seeing the place for the first time, turn on all the faucets--especially the shower. Maybe the water is dirty or trickles out. Flush the toilets, too. Bring along a small plug, such as a nightlight, to make sure the outlets work. Outlet placement can affect how you can arrange your furniture and overall livability, so this is an important but often-forgotten step. 

Make the most of the circus act that is apartment hunting and really learn how to tame that lion instead of just shying away in fear. Although you might spend more time at each place overall, following these steps will save you time and money in the long run--and help you find a place you will really enjoy calling home.