Ask anyone in real estate what’s important when looking for a new home and they’ll all tell you the same thing: Location, location, location. But ask a college student who just recently landed his first apartment and here’s what they’ll tell you: There are other factors.
And the things that you end up finding most important when looking for your new place certainly will not be the same as the next person, let alone a roommate who could be a total stranger. So when you start seeking that perfect place to call your own, here are a few things to think about to make sure you end up in a position you can live with.
Reach Out to Roommates
Gain a head start on your apartment search and decide your roommates early and assertively. Finding likeminded people to live with can be as simple as approaching a few friends who you know are looking for a place to live, or using one of many web resources that connects apartment-hunters to each other based on rooming preferences and living styles. Establishing your roommates early will not only get the most nerve-racking step out of the way, but will add some more manpower to your search so you can get a lease signed quickly and efficiently.
The only way to truly be able to see yourself somewhere is to – that’s right – be there. When you start zeroing in on a place you like, start visiting it. Walk around the units, talk to tenants, and check out surrounding areas. You don’t even need reveal yourself as a “tourist” to get a feel for the atmosphere. Also, when checking out potential apartments make sure to visit on different days and at different times – many places can seem like two different worlds depending on when you’re there.
Okay, so location is important – it’s just not everything. Bus routes, local infrastructure, and proximity to school/work are all factors that can turn an apartment’s location into an asset for you. Below, you’ll find one of the many apartment-finding sites where location takes precedence for those who value it most.
When In Doubt, Hit The Streets
Many great apartments often forego being listed on the Internet and, as a result, slip through the cracks of buyers’ searches. Ditching the computer screen and getting out to look for available apartments can turn up listings that have just hit the market, apartments with superior reputations that make web listings unnecessary, or extremely affordable options that sell themselves. Taking time off work or school and looking around during normal business hours (read: when banks are open) can also result in apartment managers being more accessible and agreeable.
Get matched up with other shoppers who seek specific kinds of roommates.
General apartment reviews and ratings site to help you find out what you’re getting yourself into.
Housing-search site that connects you to everything from apartments, condos, or rooms for rent.
Map-based apartment search engine for when location means everything.
Craigslist can be used to not only find available space, but also list yourself as someone seeking roommates or residence.