Online apartment listings have several advantages over the local magazines of listings because the websites will be able to stay more current in terms of what is available and what has been rented.
These sites usually also have all of the details right up front. They keep their listings up to date, and will state terms of the lease (pets or no pets, children and so on), the deposit required, and the application process.
One thing to remember when you start looking online is that you will be going through a wide range of listings, so try to stay organized. Print out the details on each one and make notes when you speak to the landlord or the broker. Take the printouts with you and make notes on each apartment you see, and then decide the pros and cons of each.
Above all, be absolutely certain you understand the terms of the deal, especially with regard to the deposit and broker’s fees. Get everything in writing, and know your rights as a tenant in the area you are moving into.
One other valuable resource for finding a good place to live is friends, colleagues and family. It is estimated that the average adult will move 8 to 12 times in their life. Therefore, lots of people you know will be on the move. Find out where they are living, why they are moving, and what their experience has been. In some cases you might end up with their old apartment. In other cases you might be able to find out about the new place they got and if there are any other apartments available in the building. You might also be able to see some of the apartments that they didn’t take or get an inside scoop on the broker and how good they are.
Sadly, even the most detailed and meticulous apartment-hunt on your part can still result in problems. The truth is that you never know what a place is like until you move into it. After all, no one ever warns you about the crazy neighbor upstairs on the treadmill at 2 in the morning, or the one who blasts his stereo so loud at 6 am on a Saturday that the whole building shakes.
By getting the inside scoop from friends, or subletting, you will not be stuck in a miserable living situation, but you will have to move a couple of times until you are able to find a place that is right for you. Getting your deposit back can sometimes be a hassle, and having to pay a second deposit on your new place while you are waiting for your deposit back from your old one can lead to a cash crunch at times.
Apartment hunting can be a really frustrating process if there are a lot of people like yourself looking. This will be particularly true at certain times of the year, such as when all of the college students are coming back to the city for the start of the new school year.
But patience and persistence will pay off. Save your money, work out your budget, your must-haves, and start looking. Use all the resources available to you in book form and online to find the apartment of your dreams.