Finding a new place can be time-consuming, but there’s an art to running an efficient apartment search. Our full-time job is connecting renters with their dream digs, so we have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you streamline your hunt and find the place you love faster.
1 | Get your priorities straight
Take a minute to write up your apartment wishlist. We use the Apartment Triangle as an exercise to help renters set realistic expectations for their new place. Weigh your options based on the importance you place on price, finishes, and location—picking your must-have 2 out of 3 out of these three factors will help you narrow down your options and get to “the one” faster.
2 | Do your research on renters insurance
You’ll need proof of having renters insurance before moving into your new place, so having an idea of which provider you’ll be using will help speed up the process. The last thing you want to do on move-in day is compare providers.
We always recommend Lemonade to our clients! We love a quick sign-up process, great rates, and an easy-to-use app. Get your Lemonade quote here.
3| Solidify your budget
Having a solid, realistic number in mind when running your search is key. When estimating your budget, you’ll want to make sure your number factors in all the related fees you’ll be expected to pay on top of base rent. Nothing is worse than falling in love with a place and then getting priced out when you start adding up the extras like utilities, pet fees, and parking spots. Learn more about additional fees to expect here.
4 | Prepare your documents for an application
When you find a place you love, we have a few reasons why we recommend moving with urgency to lock it down. If it’s a good deal, we guarantee that other renters are also eyeing it. Also, apartment prices change daily—deciding to ”sleep on it” before applying means risking a price jumping out of your budget range overnight. On a positive note, you may qualify for “look and lease” specials if you tour and lease within the same day.
A good way to make sure you’re first in line for the apartment you want is to have all of your application documents lined up and ready to go. Create a folder on your desktop with the following so you can plug and play when the time comes:
- Proof of Income: Properties will ask you to submit documentation, such as two or three recent pay stubs, employer letters, or a W-2 tax form (only if you have been with the job for more than a year.)
- Social security and driver’s license: You’ll be asked to provide copies of your social security and driver’s license in order to run credit and background checks.
- Co-signer application: Sometimes you need a co-signer or guarantor when you don’t make enough or your credit is low.
- Vehicle registration and proof of insurance: This isn’t always required, but a lot of apartment properties have parking garages or lots that require a parking sticker or pass to park.
5 | Connect with an Apartment Locator
The ultimate life hack to finding an apartment is letting a real estate agent do all of the hard work for you. Locators have an encyclopedic knowledge of all of the apartment complexes around the city—give them a little about what you’re looking for, and they’ll come back to you with a curated list of options. It’s way less stressful than sifting through apartment listing websites, calling up apartments, and scheduling tours on your own.
The best part? It’s totally free! To get started, fill out a quick form to let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll take it from there.