Put Your Apartment on Paper
Apartment hunting, as with any significant personal endeavor, can be a stressful and difficult process. In order to find your ideal apartment, with the minimum amount of headaches, you should first make a list of things that you definitely need, things that would be nice to have, where you would like to live and how much your rental budget can afford.
Where Will Your New Apartment Be?
Your apartment search should start with deciding where you would like to live. Whether this is determined by your job, your budget, your family or other factors, it is important to at least have a few neighborhoods or areas in which you will base your search.
Matching Your Lifestyle with a Neighborhood
The location of your new apartment will be the most important and influential factor. What kind of lifestyle do you envision? Would you prefer the tranquility of a quiet suburb or the excitement of bustling city streets? Will your family feel comfortable and be able to enjoy the neighborhood? Your location will define your apartment more than any other feature under consideration.
Make a list of what things you would like your neighborhood to have; restaurants, grocery stores, shops, parks, beaches, bike trails, Laundromats, daycare, playgrounds are all important neighborhood features to consider before you rent an apartment.
You need to think of where everyone needs to regularly go and how they will get there. This includes figuring out how you can most efficiently get yourself to work and if you have kids, them to school. It is going to be difficult to enjoy your new apartment and neighborhood if you never see it during daylight.
Many cities have great public transit systems that may have stops in and around the neighborhoods where you would like to rent an apartment. If you plan on driving, be sure that you have more than one route to work mapped out and that you can park easily.
Also, be sure to consider other places that you will need to be on a regular basis. Picking up kids from school, attending ball games, going to the gym, going to the grocery store, etc. are all places and activities that you may need to go to at least once a week.
Make a list of places that you regularly attend and be sure to check to see that your favorite neighborhood can support all of your commuting needs.
Kids and Apartments
If you have kids, location is going to be a major factor in your decision. Do some research on the local schools at sites such as greatschools.net. Also, safety and security are major concerns; you can check out crime statistics at fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm and peruse local papers for information on crime rates and safety issues.
One of the best ways to figure out if your children will enjoy a new apartment is to see if there other kids are around. If there are lots of families with kids of a similar age, then your kids will have friends to hang around with; they will also probably share some of the same activities, so that you can arrange carpools or even host events and parties for the neighborhood kids. Having a nice neighborhood network of parents can be extremely helpful.
Once you figure out where you want your apartment to be, you can start thinking about what amenities you will need, and what amenities would be nice to have. It is easy to confuse the two, so be sure to make a list. In our next article, Figuring out which Apartment Amenities You Need, we’ll pose some questions that should help you compile your list.