Finding the right apartment is a major decision—you’re not only committing a significant amount of your paycheck to it every month; you’re also stuck living with your choice for a year minimum. We know the process makes it all too easy to overlook details that can lead to frustration or financial setbacks, so we put together a list of the top 5 mistakes renters make during their apartment hunt with solutions to avoid them.
1 | Size matters (too much)
Heyy, keep it PG—we’re talking about apartments here. When building out must-have lists, we see many renters get “square footage tunnel vision”—they’re set on having a specific amount of space but aren’t as concerned with how that space is actually used in the layout. Repeat after us: just because it’s big, doesn’t mean it’s functional. A well-laid-out 650 sqft apartment may actually have better flow than an 800 sqft unit with a lot of dead space.
Don’t spend the next 12 months of your lease trying to figure out what to do with that weird corner. The answer is almost always a plant, though.
SOLUTION: Don’t be dazzled by big numbers alone. Keep an open mind and picture how you’ll actually be using your space.
2 | Unrepresented renting
Who’s still finding their own apartment in 2023? Apartment locators are licensed real estate agents. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of the market and can pull a personalized list of places that meet your criteria in a fraction of the time it’d take you to do it yourself.
Want to save money on rent upfront? Locators are the first to hear about move-in specials. Have a pit bull fur baby? An agent knows off the top of their head what complexes don’t have dog breed restrictions. Set on having wood flooring in your next place? We’ll have a list of carpet-free options in your inbox by EOD. The time you’d normally spend scouring options on the internet or dealing with answering machine menus can be spent doing literally anything else.
SOLUTION: Stop wasting your time. Fill out our quick form to connect with an apartment locator and find your place the easy way.
3 | Underestimating extra fees
Making this mistake will cost you way more money than you were hoping to spend if you aren’t careful. When building a budget to rent, make sure you account for all of the monthly costs. Base rent is just that—base rent. You’ll need to leave financial wiggle room stuff like utilities, WiFi, valet trash, pest control, amenity fees, parking, and pet rent. These extra fees add up quickly, and you aren’t able to opt out of any of them, even if you aren’t using the amenity or service.
SOLUTION: Before signing the lease, ask the property for a fee sheet and run the numbers to ensure you’re still within budget after factoring in the extra costs.
4 | Waiting too long to commit
You know how flight prices can change drastically overnight? Same with apartments. Apartment pricing is based on automated algorithms, which are based on supply and demand. AKA, if you find a place you like, snag it before the price goes up or someone else leases it first.
Some properties also incentivize you to sign on the spot by offering look and lease specials, where you’ll secure savings if you apply for the apartment within 24-48 hours of your initial tour. Money you would have spent on move-in fees or rent going back into your pocket is always a win!
SOLUTION: When you’re out touring apartments, tour with the intent to lease. If not, you risk losing out on savings or the unit itself.
5 | Skipping the walkthrough
You know that mile-long inventory sheet they give you to fill out at move-in? It’s a chore to fill out, we know. But not taking the time at move-in to inspect your unit thoroughly and document damage means you may never see your deposit money again, or worse, you’ll owe money at the end of your lease for scratches, dents, and scuffs you weren’t even responsible for. Take photos of imperfections in your unit, write them all down on the sheet, and give the paperwork back to the leasing office within the time window they provided. You’ll thank yourself later.
SOLUTION: Do your future self a favor and take the 15 minutes to document the state of your apartment.
Have you made any of these common renting mistakes? We’ve all been there, but now you know for next time!