Five Great Tips to Find the Perfect Rental

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Top 5 Tips to Find a Great Apartment

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Finding your dream rental is difficult and stressful--there is so much to consider (such as price, neighbourhood, and amenities) and such a huge commitment to make. Choosing an apartment is a loaded decision that demands careful research, thought, and time to find the perfect place.

If you will be on the hunt for a new apartment in the near future, check out these five important apartment hunting tips to help you search for the apartment of your dreams!

Determine your price range

Before you even begin apartment hunting, you should figure out what you can afford to spend on rent each month. This will prevent you from wasting time viewing apartments out of your price range and paying fees to submit rental applications.

Add up all of your monthly costs to determine how much you will spend (such as car payment, car insurance, cell phone bill, groceries, entertainment, gym membership, cable, health insurance) as well as how much you plan to put in your savings account each month. Subtract the total from your monthly income to calculate how much you can put towards rent (don't forget to add utilities if they're not included).

Make a list of essentials

Every apartment is equipped with different amenities, each with varying importance to you. Make a list of everything you are looking for in a place to refine your search and make it easier when checking listings.

Some common apartment amenities include:
  •     On-site laundry facilities (or a washer/dryer in your unit)
  •     Pet-friendly
  •     On-site parking
  •     Ample closet space or storage areas
  •     Elevator access
  •     Secure entrance or doorman
  •     Pool/gym
  •     Balcony/private outdoor space
  •     On-site maintenance (24-hour a plus)
Finding a rental that features everything on your list (and is within your price range) may be difficult, but having an account of everything your dream place would have will help you decide which apartment is best for you.

Research neighbourhoods

The area your apartment is located in is just as important as the condition of the unit itself. Before you begin searching in any city, be sure to thoroughly research the region.

Some important factors to consider are:
  •     Crime rates
  •     Proximity to school, work or public transit
  •     Nightlife and entertainment options
  •     Family-friendliness
  •     Quality of schools
What's important in a neighbourhood will vary from one person to the next--consider your preferences and find out if the area meets them. Are you single and seeking a nightlife scene? Are you a parent and prefer a quiet, safe neighbourhood with good schools and parks? Will you be relocating without a car and need nearby public transit terminals? It's important to figure out what neighbourhoods meet the needs of your lifestyle so you can begin searching for your apartment in those areas.

Ask important questions

Renting an apartment is a huge commitment--not only do you want to ensure that the unit you are renting is functioning and in good condition, but that the person showing it to you is a legitimate landlord. Make sure you do your homework so you can be aware of how to avoid rental scams, as well as ask the appropriate questions to avoid renting an apartment that is not as it appears.

Some essential questions include:
  • How long has the apartment been available? If the apartment has been empty a long time, that could be a sign there are problems with the unit or building.
  • Do all of the appliances function? Be sure to check them yourself, and if the landlord promises any repairs will be made before you move in, get it put into your lease.
  • Are utilities included? Confirm what, if any, utility costs will be included in your rent and make sure it is included in your lease.
  • How old is the building? Have there been recent renovations? Knowing the age of the building and how up-to-date the wiring, plumbing, and other inner-workings are will give you a good idea of what you can expect to deal with should you move in.
  • Are there any late fees? What day is the rent due each month? Is there a grace period? If you miss a rent payment, find out what fees you will pay.
  • How much is the security deposit and what are the grounds for getting it back? This is a crucial question and the answer should be clearly stated in your lease if you decide to rent the unit.

Read the lease carefully

Your lease is a binding legal document, and it is necessary to understand everything in it before you sign. If you are confused or find anything unclear, make sure to ask. Don't let the landlord provide vague answers or rush you--this can be a red flag to walk away.

Items that should be clearly stated in your lease include:
  •     The length of the lease (month-to-month, fixed term, etc).
  •     Amount of security deposit and grounds for its return
  •     Date of rent payment each month and late fee policy
  •     Included utilities
  •     Repairs and maintenance policy
  •     Pet policy
  •     Decoration policy
  •     Noise policy
  •     Required notice for vacating
  •     Grounds for legally breaking the lease
If you are renting an apartment for the first time, it is a good idea to bring an experienced renter with you to look over the lease and make sure there are no red flags.

Photo by: Nenetus (

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on April 20, 2016 - Moving Expert
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