The internet has made searching for a new place easier than ever. Whether you’re moving down the block or across the country, there are plenty of tools to let you scope out your new apartment from the comfort of your couch. While it’s still a good idea to check out a place in person before you decide to rent, it’s much easier to narrow down your choices when you use these three tools.
Google Maps and the closely related internet program, Google Earth, have made it easy to explore the world without ever leaving your apartment. The creation of Street View has gone one step further by allowing you to see what an area looks like as if you were standing right there on the street. In order to use Street View, simply click on the orange man on the left side of the screen and drag him onto the map. You can then click and drag to turn the camera or single click on a part of the image to “walk” closer to it. Taking a virtual stroll through a potential new neighborhood lets you see if you might like to live there.
One of the easiest ways to save money, help the environment and get yourself in better shape is to walk places instead of driving. Walk Score gives you a score of how walker-friendly a given address is and also displays a map of the area with nearby restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and public transportation stops.
If safety is an issue, this is a great tool to use to scope out a new neighborhood. This site provides a map of the area and includes graphics that show the type of crime committed and where it happened on the map. This allows you to easily see if there is a part of town that you should avoid renting an apartment in. Though the cost of rent can be an indicator, as less desirable places tend to run cheaper, there are some inexpensive apartments in perfectly safe places. Spot Crime can help you find out if the apartment is a good deal or if it’s in a shady section of town.
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