Knowing how to apartment hunt is one of those useful life skills that we wished they taught us in school.
After all, apartment hunting tips are more likely to come in useful than say, learning the periodic table or making potato batteries.
But, like many things in life, the internet sure makes apartment hunting a lot easier these days. Of course, with so many options out there, it’s still not exactly an easy process to narrow down your search to one perfect apartment.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help! Check out this guide to learn how to find an apartment online.
Decide What You Want
Not only is the internet the best way to find apartments these days, but it’s also a lot faster and easier than traipsing around town looking for potential listings.
But with so many options out there, you need to determine what you want before you consider where and how to look for apartments online. This way, you can be sure that the results you find on apartment-search websites will be tailored to you.
If you’re new to the apartment-hunting game you might not be aware of some of the factors you’ll need to take into account. These might include how much space you need, whether it matters what floor you’re on, your budget, and whether you’re willing to share or not.
Make sure you’re clear on these issues. If not, it’ll result in a lot of wasted time and energy. And, if time is of the essence, that might mean settling for something less than ideal.
Define Your Search Parameters
With a better idea of what you want – and what you don’t – you can start your online apartment search.
Defining your search parameters filters out apartments that don’t meet your requirements. This then ensures that all the listings you see will have everything you need, and possibly more.
Start by searching according to your must-haves in an apartment. If your search brings up too many results, you’ll need to adjust your search by adding in some of the extras you’d like.
An even easier way to find your dream rental is to use an apartment locator service. They’ll do all the hard work for you, although you will still need to define your requirements to ensure that the options they present you with are suitable.
While you should aim for the best you can afford, learning how to apartment hunt often requires a degree of compromise.
You might not be willing to budge on certain necessities. But if you’re restricted by a low income or owning a pet, you might have to shift your expectations.
This is where you have to turn back to your list of needs and wants to decide where your priorities lie and what you can do without. That might mean living a little further from work than you’d planned for onsite parking. Or it could mean opting for a smaller apartment to ensure it’s in the location you want.
Sign Up for Notifications
While you might get lucky and find some great apartments during your first online search, it’s more likely that your first search won’t be all that fruitful. But don’t worry, apartment-search sites post new listings every day.
And, to make things even easier, most sites offer to save your searches and send you notifications of new listings that come up. Just make sure you have your parameters right before you commit to email notifications. If not, you’ll have to wade through tons of unsuitable listings every time a new email hits your inbox.
One of our top apartment hunting tips is to act fast. That means being proactive whenever you find a listing that meets your needs.
Many apartment-search websites will have a message form you can fill in to inquire about a particular apartment. But more often than not, the response rate for these forms is slow. As a result, you could miss out on your dream apartment waiting for them to reply.
Instead, call the agency there and then. If you’re really keen, try and arrange a visit as soon as possible. The sooner you can see the apartment, the sooner you’ll know if it’s right or not. And if it is, you’ll need to be quick to secure it for yourself!
Bear in mind that listings on apartment-search websites aren’t always complete. If an apartment looks good but the listing seems to be lacking certain information, one key part of learning how to apartment hunt is knowing what questions to ask the agency.
Not listing whether the apartment block has an elevator might be an oversight. But it might mean that there isn’t one. And, if you’re considering moving into an apartment on the fifth floor, no elevator is sure to be a definite deal-breaker.
Before you visit an apartment, it’s also a good idea to have a record of what the listing said. This way you can compare it to what you see and ask any questions that crop up when you visit the apartment in person.
It’s also vital to ask what the landlord and agency expect of you as the potential tenant. For example, if your salary doesn’t meet their minimum requirements or they don’t rent to freelancers, it’s better to find this out sooner rather than later.
How to Find an Apartment Online
Thanks to this easy guide, you should now know how to find an apartment online without falling into the common pitfalls that many apartment hunters face.
Of course, you’ll still need to be willing to devote time and energy into your search. But, once you find somewhere that meets your expectations, you’ll be sure that it’s the right place for you.
For more inspiration and advice, be sure to check out our other articles as well as our great online resources!