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How to find an apartment

How to find an apartment

Finding the right apartment or home to rent can be difficult and stressful. You can be competing with many others for a quality unit in a prime location.

The secret, real estate brokers say, is to plan ahead. Often renters will wait until the last minute to look for another apartment. However, when renters are in a hurry they tend to take apartments they don’t really want, says Lance Macon, co-founder of Metro Home Managers, a Washington, D.C.-based, full-service rental property management firm.

Here are eight tips for finding the best rental homes and apartments in your area.

1. Start your search 60 days before your move

The best rentals, in terms of price, location and amenities, go earlier in the month, so don’t wait until midmonth to look for a new place to live, Macon says. It’s best to start searching 60 days before you need to move, especially if you are looking for a rental property where there isn’t as much available.

The second and third weekends of the month tend to be the busiest. If you start your search the first weekend of the month, there will be less competition and the best properties will still be available.

2. Search for rental listings online

About 90% of renters will start apartment hunting on Craigslist or Zillow, Macon says. Looking online is a good way to start your search. You can get a sense of pricing and apartment amenities. However, if you’re moving to a new city, apartment rental sites won’t tell you enough about neighborhoods and the local amenities of each, such as public transportation or grocery stores.

3. Use a real estate broker

In most cases, real estate brokers are available to help renters find properties free of charge. The key is to find a broker who specializes in rental properties, not home sales.

If you’re looking in areas where there is generally tight competition for apartments, you’ll want to talk with a number of real estate agents before committing to one because different agents have different relationships with different buildings. Make sure you are talking with an agent who has access to the apartment buildings in neighborhoods where you want to rent.

4. Don’t be fooled by scams

Be aware of online scams, particularly ads on Craigslist that require you to provide your credit card to pay a deposit fee to be shown the apartment. No one should require a deposit to show you an apartment.

Also, be careful if you are renting an apartment directly from a private person because you will be giving a total stranger your Social Security number and your bank account information, and they will likely run a credit check on you. It’s safer to work with a licensed and bonded real estate broker.

5. Consider roommates

If you’re considering sharing an apartment, make sure you know who your roommates will be and consider asking the landlord for separate leases. If you have a joint lease and the rent is $2,000 a month, you are liable for the entire amount if your roommates don’t pay their share, Macon says. But if you have a separate lease, you’re liable only for your portion of the rent.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references if you don’t know your roommates. You can also use social media – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook – to find out more about them.

6. Offer to take a 13-month lease

If you’re in a competitive marketplace, one way to get a landlord’s attention is to negotiate a 13- or 14-month lease, says Todd Lee, co-founder with Macon of Metro Home Managers. This is particularly helpful if a traditional 12-month lease would expire in November or December because it is often difficult to rent properties in those months.

7. Tour smaller buildings

Generally, an apartment in a 300-unit managed building with a swimming pool, 24-hour front desk, computer lounge and weight room will cost significantly more than the same size apartment in a six- to eight-unit building. If you’re paying for amenities, Lee says, make sure you will use them.

8. Use social media

Don’t be shy about posting on Facebook that you’re looking for an apartment. Let people know you are searching for a new place to live.

Once you find the perfect apartment or rental home, you’ll want to consider renter’s insurance. A landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover your belongings, so when the unexpected happens you want to be covered.

How to find an apartment

Ready to start your apartment search? Before you head to the online listings, take a few minutes to work out what you want, what you need, and how to approach apartment searching in a smart way that’ll get you both.

Your guide to apartment searching

Understand how to decide if you really should move.

Your decision on whether or not it’s time to start an apartment search depends on two main things: what your ideal rental situation looks like and whether or not you can afford rent for anything closer to that ideal than what you have now.

Create a short list of the core reasons you’re thinking of moving. As you move through the following steps, keep coming back to these reasons. If you’re finding places during your apartment search with the right things that fit your budget and fulfill your reasons for wanting to move, it’s a good sign that you’re ready.

Make a wants-and-needs list.

Make a list with two columns: things you want in an apartment and things you absolutely need. Your needs might be proximity to your work, pet-friendliness, walkable to the train, or number of bedrooms. Your wants list might include a big kitchen, an in-unit washer-dryer, and being near a bike trail.

Here’s a tip: Trulia’s apartment search tool allows you to filter your search by a bunch of different filters, like allows pets and microwave included. Use these filters to guide your list.

Set your budget.

One of the most important filters you’ll use when apartment hunting is the price. And to answer the question, “ How much rent can I afford ?” you’ll need to look at some numbers. Here’s a step-by-step for rental budgeting :

  • Start with your monthly net income—what you actually bring home after taxes.
  • Subtract all your fixed monthly expenses, the stuff you most likely can’t change, e.g, student loan, car payment.
  • Look at all other expenses like groceries, utility costs, cable TV, gym membership, entertainment. If there are any you can cut or lower, now’s a good time to do it. (Tip: Experts recommend spending about 10%-15% of your net income on food—buying groceries and eating in restaurants.) Subtract any of those expenses you don’t cut from your monthly net income.
  • Consider any savings or spending money you’d like to add into your budget. Subtract those from your monthly income as well.
  • What you have left could be what you have to spend on rent. Experts recommend your rent should be around 25% to 30% of your gross (before tax) monthly income, (but some rental markets can make that challenging).

Remember, too, there might be some tradeoffs, that may come up during your apartment search. If you find a place a block from work, you may get rid of your car. Some rental units include utilities or a gym. Keep these things in mind while apartment hunting, and you’ll have some more flexibility in your budget.

Start saving up for move-in costs.

Most landlords will ask for first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit up front. You might also be required to get rental insurance, and there might be an application fee and a cost to have a credit check. And will you need movers? Think through the one-time moving costs you’ll have when moving and start saving for them now.

Make the roommate decision.

Unless you’re moving to fulfill a dream of living solo, sharing the rent might mean you can afford to expand your apartment search. Think back to that list of reasons you want to move and your wants-and-needs list. Could you hit more of your goals by sharing your kitchen? Decide if your budget, goals, and ideal living situation would be well-suited to splitting rent with a roommate .

If the answer is yes, look strategically. Use your apartment searching goals to find a friend, family member, co-worker, or another potential roommate who wants the same things from a rental that you do.

Determine when to start looking seriously.

Once you start looking, be prepared to sign a lease quickly — even if your move-in date is weeks away. Experts recommend giving yourself about four weeks from your first serious inquiries to signing a lease, so consider that timing when you start your apartment search. If your lease is up in six months, you may want to give it a few months to start making calls.

Decide what neighborhood is best for you.

Where your rental is located is just as important when apartment hunting as what’s inside the unit. A great way to find out what it’s like to live somewhere before you commit is reviewing What Locals Say reviews on Trulia. Millions of residents have shared their firsthand experiences of living in their neighborhoods, helping you find the best fit. When you find a neighborhood you can’t wait to call home—you’re ready to start looking for homes there. You can also use Trulia Neighborhoods to find information on schools, safety and crime, neighborliness, restaurants and entertainment, and more.

Start your search.

Now you’re ready to go online and start your apartment search. Use Trulia’s search filters to find all of the options that fit your needs and budget in the right neighborhood. Look at every potential listing in detail. Be sure to check out:

  • 3D apartment tours, available on Trulia
  • Any additional fees the landlord may require
  • Lease terms (12-month, month-to-month, etc.)

Schedule and go on viewings.

Once you’ve whittled your list down to a few options that fit your apartment search goals, start scheduling viewings. After all, no matter how hot a market is, you’re going to want to see the place in-person before signing a lease. You can request a viewing right on each Trulia rental listing, which makes the process quick and easy.

During each viewing, bring all of your lists with you: Your reasons for moving, want-and-needs, and your budget. Also bring a list of all the amenities from the listing that attracted you to the apartment in the first place. While looking around, make sure you see everything you expect, and ask about anything you’re unsure of. With all your questions answered, you could be ready to make your big decision and rent an apartment .

Now that you have an overview of apartment searching, you may want a few more details about budgeting. Check out our guide on answering the question, “ How much rent can I afford ?” next.

How to find an apartment

Whether you’re relocating for work, moving cross-country to be close to your S.O., or just want to start fresh in a new place, moving to a new city can be challenging. But how do you go about finding the perfect apartment for rent in Boston, MA or some other city you know very little about? It’s almost seamless once you know the ins and outs of scoring a far-away place before you officially move.

1. How to find the best neighborhoods

The best way to find out what makes a neighborhood great is to visit it — and not just online (although that’s a start). “Take a week to tour and explore before making a final decision,” recommends Terra Andersen of NMS Properties Inc., a company that manages apartments for rent in Los Angeles. Make your search more productive by narrowing down what absolutely matters most to you and doing some research before you visit: If you can’t stomach the thought of spending two hours in a car to get to work, check out Trulia local maps to find average commute times and types. (You can find crime stats there too.) Although you might need to live a bit farther out to afford the rent, consider the drive during rush hour (both ways) to see if it’s doable. Otherwise, it might be worth it live closer to work and figure out ways to curb spending to afford a higher rent payment.

2. Find a short-term rental

If you don’t have the time to visit all the neighborhoods that meet your criteria before your move, put your stuff in storage and sublet for a month (or two.) Subletting an apartment will probably cost a bit more than just moving straight into an apartment with a long-term lease because of the storage fees — not to mention the hassle of moving twice! — but keep in mind that most apartment leases are for a year. If you make the wrong choice, that year could end up feeling like an eternity. Save some money by researching what average rents are in the area and negotiate what you’ll pay based on that. If you can, offer low. The person who needs to sublet ASAP will probably take your offer, even if it is a bit low; something is better than nothing. Pro tip: Ask about the potential to sign on for a longer lease once your sublease ends. That way, if you end up loving the place, you don’t have to start your search from scratch.

3. Ask about corporate housing

You don’t have to be a CEO to live in corporate housing. Corporate housing simply refers to a furnished apartment, house, or condo that anyone, not just company employees, can lease on a short-term basis. Of course, if you’re relocating for work, your company might pay to set you up in corporate housing until you find a place of your own. (Check the limits on how long you can stay put on the company’s dime.) If you will be paying for corporate housing yourself, know that it will probably cost you less than staying in a hotel would, but more than subletting someone else’s place. And if your company doesn’t offer corporate housing, you can still opt for a furnished pad while you make a decision on where you want to live long-term. (Trulia rental listings include a search filter for furnished units.)

4. How to do a background check on property management companies (and landlords)

You know that property management companies and many landlords will run a background check on you. But you might not know that you can screen your landlord too. What are you checking for? You want a management company or landlord to be responsive to your needs regarding repairs, to return all of your security deposit (unless it’s kept for legitimate reasons), and to respect your right to privacy. (If the property manager gossips to you about other tenants, it’s probably safe to assume there’s no privacy there.) Find out what sort of management is in charge by asking other tenants in the building. Otherwise, you might be in a situation where it’s time to break the lease on an apartment before you’re ready.

“Pay close attention to the curb appeal of the community and overall building upkeep, as this provides good insight into how the management company takes care of its communities and residents,” says Darla Dillon, interior designer with Cortland Partners, a multifamily investment and management firm. Ask about the turnover rate. Anything above 50% is high. A high turnover rate doesn’t always mean problems, but it could be a red flag.

5. Subscribe to local publications

Start reading about different neighborhoods by subscribing to local publications or reading online editions of newspapers or regional magazines. Check out the Facebook groups or pages for the city or neighborhood you’re considering. You’ll learn about local news and traffic conditions and where the best restaurants, shops, and parks are in the area.

6. How dumb is it to rent an apartment without seeing it in person?

Don’t rent an apartment unless you’ve seen it first — and don’t sign the lease online, either. Once you’ve signed, you’re committed. Contrary to what some people believe, “cooling-off rules,” where you get three days to change your mind on a contract, do not apply to apartment leases. If you can’t visit the area first or find a short-term housing solution, at least have someone you trust check out the apartment for you. Have them check “kitchen layouts, closet space, and storage areas, which should be functional and complement everyday needs and activities,” says Dillon.

Because Boston contains 35 colleges and universities and their students make up about 20% of the city’s total population, most leases start in the fall semester, running 9/1-8/31. If landlords know an apartment will be available in the fall, they may put it up on the market as early as January, so that’s when to start looking. Otherwise, landlords usually ask for 90 days notice for renewal, so many available apartments go on the market in June.

Best websites for searching for an apartment in Boston

Here are the six best websites for Boston apartments. They all let you search by location as well as various filters like size, price, and certain amenities. They’ll be your best bet for finding a cheap apartment in Boston, or even an upscale one if that’s what you’re looking for.

Creating a Boston apartment checklist

The first thing you’ll want to do is narrow your search so you’re only looking at apartments that are a good fit for you. Here are some things to think about in your search:

Lease type (long or short term, sublet or standard)

Entire place or bedroom in a larger apartment

Broker Fee (usually 1 month rent) or No Fee

Utilities included or not included

Number of bedrooms + bathrooms

Private balcony, porch, garden, etc

Furnished or Unfurnished

Gas or electric stove

Building amenities (doorman, gym, pool, community room, etc)

Property Type (apartment, condo, townhouse, etc)

Miscellaneous preferences (e.g. “exposed brick”, “granite”)

What to look for in Boston apartment listings

Once you’ve narrowed your search to fit your needs, there are a few things to look for in apartment listings to figure out if a place is right for you:

Photos

You should see every apartment in person before you sign a lease, but photos will help you decide if it’s even worth pursuing.

Floor Plan

Not all listings will have one, but it’s helpful to see a layout of the space to match with the photos.

Double check information

Some listings will be incorrectly filtered or titled. Make sure the information in the description and photos matches what you’ve searched for.

Roommates

If you’re renting a room in a larger apartment you’ll want to know a bit about who you’ll be living with such as age or occupation.

Contact Information

If you’re interested in seeing an apartment, you’ll want to know the best way to get in touch with the owner or broker.

Red flags when searching for a Boston apartment

It’s important to be cautious when apartment hunting, especially when trying to find an apartment in Boston without a realtor. In order to make sure you’re getting a fair deal and avoiding scams and illegal activity. Here are a few things to look out for:

Bait & Switch

If you contact an agent or owner about a listing and they offer to show you an entirely different unit, it may be a bait & switch sales tactic, which is illegal under state consumer protection laws .

More than 4 months up front

Massachusetts landlords can only charge for the first month, last month, security deposit, and a lock change fee up front . Only licensed apartment brokers may charge a broker fee (usually 1 month’s rent).

If it looks too good to be true, it is

Most apartment listing websites have moderation tools to prevent scams and phishing, but sketchy listings will slip through the cracks from time to time. Luckily, fake listings usually stand out by being massively underpriced for their type and location. That newly renovated 2-bedroom on Newbury Street for $1,200/month? Probably fake.

You shouldn’t have to suffer through unhappy apartment hunting with a treasure trove of resources out there to help you through the process. We spent some time sorting through the best rental websites so you know where to look.

At this point, it’s basically common law that finding an apartment cannot be easy. Whether it’s surprise fees loaded onto the final rent, or discovering (at the last minute) that the apartment you love is going to the super’s daughter, you have to be ready for a little disappointment before finding the perfect home. But, you shouldn’t have to suffer with a treasure trove of resources out there to help you through the process. We spent some time sorting through the best sites so you know where to look.

How to find an apartment

Trulia
A clean, clear website that helps those looking to buy, sell, or rent homes all over the nation. While the site is generally more popular with buyers, those looking to rent will also find great features to help in their hunt like extensive search filters. Pet owners will be happy to know that Trulia lets you search to find only apartments that allow four-legged friends, or even limits results by pet size allowed. The site is great for gathering all the information you’ll want to know about a prospective new neighborhood, offering maps of crime rates, schools, subways, and demographics.

How to find an apartment

Zillow
If you have a smartphone, the Zillow app is a great accessory to add to your apartment-hunting arsenal. This site sends instant notifications of the latest listings to you based on the search filters you have in place. That kind of speed is key in always-competitive real estate markets. Also, Zillow does a good job of providing photos for each listing and telling users which apartments are from ‘verified’ sources. Fair warning, we recommend you pay heed to the verification status as we’ve seen more than a few fake and/or expired listings floating around this site.


How to find an apartment

StreetEasy
This site is made for rental apartment hunters with extensive lists of properties available in your neighborhood of choice. The best part, though, are the search capabilities: StreetEasy has some of the best filters around, including ones that let you search for specific school districts, the time it takes to walk to individual subway lines, and it even lets you add boundaries to your search. Not to mention the Editors’ Picks where StreetEasy employees tell you what’s currently on their radar.


How to find an apartment

Craigslist
Then, of course, there’s Craigslist. In terms of sheer number, the classified site is great. (We doubt you’ll ever make it to the end of the pages returned from your search.) And, we’ve all heard a Craigslist success story: that friend who found a place for cheap in the West Village, or the co-worker who found a loft with no brokers’ fee in Williamsburg. But those stories, unfortunately, are few and far between. The site is filled with fake ads that are misleading or simply incorrect, so it certainly takes some digging (and even a little luck) to find that pot of gold at the end of the real estate rainbow.


How to find an apartment

Dixon Leasing
The Dixon Leasing website fuses together the best features of the tools above: providing the best (and latest) information on available rentals; neighborhood guides, so you know what area you’re exploring throughout NYC, Jersey City and Hoboken; and a personal connection with real people that you can call and ask questions; and, of course, a way of getting all of that information to you in a clear and coherent format.

How to find an apartment

The search for your next home can be simpler than you think with the right tools on your side. That said, we welcome you to the Dixon Leasing website and look forward to helping you find your next home.

Savvy renters share tried-and-true advice for snagging a nice spot without breaking the bank

Devon Klaas gets “pretty confused” when she hears about rental horror stories in Toronto.

Since moving to Toronto in 2010, she’s lived in five different apartments, from her days as a cash-strapped Ryerson University student living in a basement apartment in Scarborough, to renting with roommates, to living with her partner in a “bright and airy” downtown one-bedroom for $1,214 a month.

  • A first-time renter’s guide to rental numbers in Toronto

Through it all, Klaas says she’s always had attentive landlords and has never entered a bidding war. And most recently, she and her partner got the keys to their new two-bedroom apartment in the Davisville area for a reasonable $1,400 a month — with rent control to boot.

Clearly, she’s doing something right — so what’s the secret?

Throughout CBC Toronto’s No Fixed Address series, you’ve shared your stories of sudden rent increases, discriminatory landlords, and the other challenges that come with renting throughout the city.

But others say finding a great apartment in Toronto’s tough rental market can often be easier if you keep in mind some tried-and-true advice. CBC Toronto spoke to Klaas — and other savvy renters — for their tips on snagging a decent place to live without breaking the bank.

Check out older buildings

Condo listings are a dime a dozen in Toronto. But those glass towers are often built after 1991, which means they’re not subject to rent control like older buildings — which could lead to higher initial rent, or a nasty surprise increase later.

  • Here’s what you need to know about the 1991 rule on rent control

To get more bang for your buck, Klaas says it’s worth trying older buildings — like low-rise apartments — instead. Her last place, that $1,214 a month one-bedroom apartment at Carlton and Jarvis Streets, was an older spot with rent control, she says.

@LaurenPelley Play it old school! My roommate and I literally found our apartment walking around the area looking for openings.

—@shelbyblackley

An added bonus? Older homes and apartment buildings are often owned by “career landlords” who are actively involved in maintaining the building, Klaas notes.

“They take good care of the buildings because that’s their bread and butter,” she says.

Or try almost-finished ones

On the flip side, renting a unit from a brand new building that’s not even finished yet could also lead to a deal.

Toronto renter Ben Singer lives in a “pretty nice place” at St. Clair Avenue West and Avenue Road for under-market rent, and he says that’s partly because he moved into the condo before it had the promised amenities and retail outlets.

  • Can anything be done to cool Toronto’s hot rental market?
  • What Toronto’s average monthly rent of $1,800 gets you in cities Canada-wide

“When I moved in, it was not exactly all finished — there was no LCBO, there was no Longo’s — but I’m currently paying the early move-in rent and have the amenities one would be paying a lot more for,” he says.

While Singer is paying $1,400 a month for his one bedroom, the average rent for similar units in the building is now upwards of $1,700, he says. (His rent could eventually go up because there’s no rent control, of course.)

“It was worth putting up with a fair bit of construction,” he adds.

Use a real estate agent

Singer also swears by the real estate agent who did all the legwork. And he didn’t have to pay a penny for the service — the fees are actually paid by whoever is trying to rent out their unit.

“(Real estate agents) have the capacity to filter out a lot of stuff and save you a lot of time,” Singer says.

Ana Yavari, who’s also renting right now in Toronto, takes a slightly different approach: Rather than using one agent, she finds it helpful to scour websites like Condos.ca and reach out to the agent of a specific place that catches her eye.

“Your chances of snagging the unit before anyone else are much, much better,” she explains.

Cast a wide net

There’s a wide selection of websites, blogs, and Facebook groups available for Toronto renters, so it makes sense to check out as many as possible when you’re looking for an apartment.

Some of them even bring the search right to you, be it through Facebook notifications or email notifications at ViewIt or Condos.ca based on whatever criteria you choose, while others cater to specific needs, like roommate-finding service Apartmate.

A few of the big ones include:

You can also set up a personal Google Alert for any new listings featuring key words (like “1-bedroom, Danforth” for instance.)

Did we miss any? Shoot me an email at [email protected] if you have a favourite rental website that’s worth adding to the list.

Come prepared to viewings

When do you do find your dream place, it can be competitive — so it helps to come prepared to viewings with all the possible documents and references a landlord might want.

These are the big three you’ll need at most viewings:

  • Credit report
  • References (personal, professional, past landlords)
  • Proof of employment letter

Wondering how to get your credit report? Use this form to get yours for free in the mail through Equifax.

And it doesn’t hurt to have a chequebook handy, too, in case you can sign off on the lease and provide cheques for first and last month’s rent on the spot.

(However, if a landlord is asking for cold hard cash up front, you might want to steer clear — as a Radio-Canada investigation recently revealed, buildings across the city are using tactics that actually violate provincial tenancy laws.)

Be flexible

It’s good to keep in mind your apartment deal breakers and neighbourhood preferences. But if you’re on a budget, Klaas encourages keeping an open mind.

“Our secret was being flexible with what we wanted,” she says. “We don’t need a shoebox apartment in the young, trendy areas of the city.”

@LaurenPelley @CBCToronto Tips: 1) lower your expectations 2) get roommates 3) save for the future.

—@WestEndMatt

Klaas is happy with her latest find — and her rental track record. But she knows things might get trickier down the road.

“Eventually trying to purchase a house, that seems scarier,” she admits.

With a new school year and the end of summer right around the corner, it’s peak moving season and San Diego apartments are going quick. Rent and housing prices have been steadily rising since last year, with an influx of people moving to San Diego searching for outdoor activities, endless sunny days and that laidback SoCal lifestyle.

How to find an apartment

With so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 lockdowns, fewer and fewer people are moving out of their current apartments. As a result, inventory is extremely low. And the real estate market is hot. There are currently more buyers than homes for sale in the San Diego housing market, and median home sales prices are increasing steadily with the number of buyers. All that overflow of unsuccessful buyers ends up flooding the rental market even more.

All that being said, finding an apartment in San Diego is a little bit tougher than usual right now. Your price range might be a little bit too low, or your desired location might not have anything on the market. But don’t let yourself get discouraged when you don’t find the perfect house on Zillow. Instead, take a look at our five tips on how to find an apartment and make the process fun again.

How to find an apartment

Consider your timeline

The circumstances of your move can affect your timeline, rental prices, and application deadlines if you don’t do the proper planning. When you start your search, determine whether or not you have a definitive move-by date. Is your current lease ending? Are you planning on returning to school or starting a new job? Your answers to these questions will determine what type of apartments you should be looking for. As a rule of thumb, most landlords won’t hold a property for more than two weeks, so you may have to wait to find your dream pad at the last minute, or pay on both apartments for a bit of time.

Short Move-In Timelines

If you need to move somewhere fast, look at home rentals on an apartment database site like apartments.com. Home or single-family apartment owners are more likely to take applicants looking for immediate move-in. When reaching out to advertisements for immediate move-in, you’ll probably be facing some competition, so be quick to apply as soon as possible.

Long Move-In Timelines

If you have a little bit more time to plan things out or you’re waiting for a current lease to end, we suggest looking at larger apartment complexes. Property management companies can plan their move-ins and move-outs two to three months in advance, so you can plan ahead with a bit more ease by working with one.

Tip: A huge perk of larger, luxury apartment complexes like Ariel, is that they tend to have more available inventory. They can usually work with either a long or short timeline depending on your needs.

How to find an apartment

Choose a few different location options

San Diego is home to a variety of different neighborhoods and boroughs that each have a unique personality. In Pacific Beach, you’ll find surfers, college students, and recent post-grads; in La Jolla, you’ll find families and a more relaxed suburban feel. Wondering what to expect from a Downtown San Diego apartment? Take a trip to the area and get a feel for what’s around you. In downtown, you’ll have walking access to the best restaurants, bars, clubs, marinas, and waterfront areas in the county. Plus, it’s centrally located to many other neighborhoods in the city.

Our suggestion is to choose a few options when it comes to location. Don’t get your heart set on an area like Mission Hills at a low budget because you might not end up there. Get to know the neighborhood you see yourself in and choose some backup options.

How to find an apartment

Do some budgeting

Determine how much you’re able to spend before getting too far ahead of yourself. The 2020 median rental price for San Diego reached $2,700/month and has continued to rise ever since. Rental prices will be higher at the end of summer due to the peak moving season, so if you can wait a month or two for prices to drop back down, it might be worth your while.

Give yourself a strict cut-off for rental prices, and don’t forget to factor in your utility costs. Repeat charges like SDGE, Wifi, and water can end up pushing you past your monthly limit! You’ll also want to budget for furniture and other move-in purchases like a security deposit in the first month. On that note – don’t forget to run through an inspection checklist for moving in!

How to find an apartment

Consider amenities

What do you want to have at your new apartment? Start to think about amenities you want to see and use regularly. Moving into a place with a gym or pool can end up saving you money on memberships in the future. Other considerations are security, pet allowances, storage, bike locks, electric car chargers, parking and more. Figure out what your requirements are as you tour new apartment complexes.

How to find an apartment

Searching for great apartments for rent in San Diego? Look no further than Ariel Apartments. We offer amenities and budgeting options to our tenants and do what we can to make the moving and living process as fun as possible. Schedule a tour today and create your new home at Ariel.

Ready to move to a new apartment? Turns out there’s a right and wrong time to find a place to live. If you pick the wrong time (the busier time), you may struggle to find cheap moving rates. Or, you might find that the competition for finding new homes is intense.

So, when is the best time of the year to rent an apartment?

Don’t stress out. We’ll discuss how to find your perfect home no matter what time of the year it is and what you can do if you’re forced to switch houses during the busy season.

Is There a Best Time to Move?

The seasons change, and so does the housing market. While there are always amazing apartments available, there’s definitely certain times in the year when you can get a better deal or find a better selection of apartments to choose from.

This is particularly true for Chicago, where seasonal rental patterns definitely influence the price of properties.

The Best Time to Rent an Apartment (For More Options): Summer

The best time to rent in Chicago if you want the widest selection of available apartments is at the end of summer.

Student’s leases expire, and new students move to the city to attend the famous universities in Chicago. Others aim to move house before the cold winter months. This raises the demand for apartments to rent in Chicago, and the turnover of tenants is also higher.

If you truly want to find the most ideal property, this is the best time to rent an apartment. However, this is definitely not the best time if you’re looking for the best deal while apartment hunting.

The Best Time to Rent (For the Best Price): March

Supply and demand shape the prices on the rental market. When a lot of people are looking for apartments, landlords have the freedom to raise prices.

That’s why the best time to rent an apartment cheaper is after the student rush. November and December may be cold in Chicago. However, the prices of properties are also much more ideal than in the summer.

If you can brave moving in the snow, the price of your apartment can make up for the inconvenience.

Generally, this trend in lower rent prices continues until early spring. According to RentHop, the best time to sign a lease on a Chicago apartment is March.

If you want to negotiate your rent, winter is also the best time of the year. You’ll have more leverage as landlords are eager to keep their properties occupied. And with fewer people shopping around for apartments, they’ll be more likely to discuss rental rates.

How Has Covid-19 Impacted Renting

A lot of tenants in Chicago renewed leases during the pandemic in 2020. Others had to move due to lost jobs. And many moved out of the city to take advantage of more spacious properties in the suburbs. This put a pause on the housing market.

It was a good time to rent luxury accommodations at lower prices. Due to lower demand, better properties closer to the city center became available at more affordable rates.

However, now the housing market trend is (slowly) turning back to its pre-pandemic state. It may be easier to find a property at an ideal price because the need to fill apartments is higher than ever. Still, landlords are also more cautious, and they’re more critical in their apartment background checks.

What’s the Price Difference Between Renting an Apartment in the High Season vs. the Low Season?

In Chicago, renting in the summer could mean a 2% higher rent per year. Meanwhile, renting in March could also save you 2% overall.

While a 4% difference doesn’t seem like much, it can quickly add up.

For example, if you rent an apartment for $1,800/month, you could save $80 every month just by renting during the ideal months. That’s almost a thousand dollars of savings every year!

It’s Always a Great Time to Rent an Apartment in Chicago With Brixbid

When the best time is for you to move to a different apartment depends on your circumstances. Often, you have no choice but to move. But, if you can wait, you can find better rental deals during the winter.

With that said, there’s no reason you can’t find your dream home now at a reasonable price. You just have to know where to look.

Brixbid’s apartment listing platform features incredible properties. Best of all, with our platform, you can negotiate your rent easily. So, you can find a great deal on a rental property, even in the summer season.

Find your dream Chicago home on Brixbid!

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Finding an apartment in New York is, pardon the hyperbole, LITERALLY THE WORST.

How to find an apartment

Only in New York will real estate agents, Craigslist and “friends of a friend” think it’s acceptable to trick you into living in a windowless box for $3300/month.

We all know that friend of a friend.

Here are the best ways to find an apartment in NYC with advice from real-life New Yorkers who’ve gone through the struggle, so you don’t have to.

1. Zumper

How to find an apartment

Zumper is cool because you can get a free Experian credit report* AND fill out an application to keep on file for when you’re ready to apply for an apartment.

*This kind of credit report is called a “soft pull” and won’t affect your credit score.

2. Pad Mapper

How to find an apartment

Padmapper will let you search by map, which is super helpful, especially in a time where “East Willliamsburg” can mean “Queens.”

Be sure to adjust the tabs when searching, since they are automatically set to include sublets and rooms which will inflate search results.

3. Craigslist

How to find an apartment

How to find an apartment

CRAIGSLIST! Frequently this site is just a giant garbage bin, but you can actually find an apartment here (it’s where I found mine).

Consider looking at listings with no photos (many landlords just don’t have the time/energy/technological skills to take pics) for the best deals. It’s definitely a “you have to kiss a few frogs to find a prince” type situation, but there is definitely gold to be discovered.

4. Nooklyn

How to find an apartment

Nooklyn is a standard apartment finding website (rentals + roommates) with emphasis on finding the right neighborhood for you. While they specialize in Brooklyn (get it? Nooklyn?) they do have a few Manhattan hoods as well.

They don’t have as many listings as some of the others on this list, but they’re legit, with excellent photos and lots of helpful information about neighborhood, like where to get the best coffee and find the cutest date-night bars.

5. Joinery

How to find an apartment

Joinery (formerly known as Nestie) is one of the most unique apartment search sites out there. It connects departing tenants with people looking for housing (entire apartments as well as rooms).

As a departing tenant, you can list your place on the site directly and as an incoming tenant, you pay the departing tenant a 5% fee (rather than a broker fee, which can be anywhere from 8.5%–17%).

6. Naked Apartments

How to find an apartment

How to find an apartment

Naked Apartments is a standard “I want X for $X/month” type of search, but their listings are pretty good.

They also have a cool feature where you can enter in your price range and number of bedrooms and they will generate a map that tells you where you will have the best luck.

7. Street Easy

How to find an apartment

How to find an apartment

StreetEasy has one of the largest selections of apartments. Requires some sifting for sure (especially since lots of “featured” units are placed at the top which don’t exactly match your search), but I know many people that have had great luck on this site.