Apartment Hunting

Apartment hunting can be stressful and a pain. I finished finding an apartment for the next chapter in my life and needless to say, there were a lot of questions that made the process so much easier! My girlfriend and I probably spent over 40+ hours looking online for apartments, making appointments, visiting, asking questions, looking around, and making decisions. And there were a lot of things to remember that even in retrospect we still had some questions that we wish had been answered right away. The best thing to do is always have a contact number or email address of someone in the leasing office so that in the worst case, you can contact them with more questions!


The following really helped in finding apartments (though driving around and looking can be just as helpful if you have a general area you are looking at):


My girlfriend and I generally looked at Yelp reviews for the apartments as well as Apartment Ratings for reviews and general comments on the places. We generally looked for the following issues:

  • Safety when inside the complex or in the neighborhood.
  • Management and how easy they are to contact and with discussing issues.
  • Noise between apartment rooms.
  • Noise outside such as traffic, airplanes, or other events.
  • Smells.
  • Rent hikes each year at end of lease.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Take A LOT of pictures! I mean A LOT of pictures. Like really, don't skip out on this. Do this for yourself. Take a picture of the kitchen in different angles, take a picture of the rooms with people in it. Take a picture of the bathroom, the cabinets, the shower, the drains, etc. Take EVERY picture that you need!

Why? Because you are going to start to blend all the apartments together after seeing different ones! Make sure you can reference back to remember what you saw. Between my girlfriend and me we had maybe 10-20 pictures per apartment and even then we still missed small details. I mean it! The small details are the ones you'll want to remember when comparing apartments!


We were extremely careful about wording of things. Be sure you clarify what you have to pay for or is at the management's expense such as replacing appliances or repainting walls. When discussing, sometimes assumptions can be made but you do NOT want to be surprised with anything when it comes to apartments as there can be excessive fees associated with it. Some other things to bare witness to:

  • If management offers to paint the walls, they still will charge to paint the wall AND to restore it to original color.
  • Pet fees can be different for different types of pets (cats vs dog etc)
  • Initial payment usual requires a cashier's check or money order and NOT normal bank checks.
  • Lease agreements may be signed separately for each adult occupant but may be required by all parties before first person moves in.
  • Some places require a minimum income as "good faith" that you can pay rent so discuss this up front before lease discussion to make sure you can work things out!
  • Most utilities are separate so you need to find out how to get billed properly.
  • Note on your calendar the end of your lease period and set a reminder 30 days before that as most places require a 30 day termination notice. Maybe even more! Otherwise you may find yourself paying month-to-month.
  • Call the Internet/Cable company about what needs to be done to get access to such services. Some companies may need to send out a service representative to install or get initial wiring done. Don't assume you can just get the modem and set it up yourself. (I personally was hit with an extra $30 service fee because apparently the apartment needed to be "rewired" even though the previous tenant used the service, I got it waived after 2 hours of waiting and half an hour of arguing at a local office).
  • Ask if there is any trial period on the apartment. Some places may have a one month trial period in which you sign the lease but you can terminate and move out if you are unhappy within the first 30 days with only the first month rent and general deposit fees. Kind of like general purchase return policies!
  • This is for you! Not for anyone else, get as much information as YOU need and it is the management's job to answer ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. They also want to convince you to lease so make sure you are very well informed.


Here are some references to some good lists or guides that we used:

Final Words

Good luck! Have fun looking at apartments and finding the one just for you! And remember, it isn't the end of the world if you chose incorrectly. You can either face the termination penalty or wait for the end of the lease and start looking. But spend as much time as possible deciding! Only settle when you have all your basic needs met!

Site Updated with Tags
The Real World

comments powered by Disqus