How to Rent an Apartment

Before you begin looking at rental properties, make a list of all of the amenities that are important to you. How many rooms do you need? How important is laundry, off street parking or a dishwasher? What amenities do you need, and which can you live without if necessary?

Think about price. What is the maximum amount of money you can spend per month? Keep this total amount in mind at all times, and do not exceed your maximum budget. If apartment fees do not include utilities, make sure to lower the amount you can pay for rent, since you'll also have to pay for utilities like heat, cable and internet.

Decide whether you are interested in short term apartments or long term apartments. A short term apartment would be good for a short term stay, like when you are renovating your home, or if you need this apartment until you can find permanent living arrangements. A long term rental is good if you plan on living there for a year or more.

Decide between a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment. Furnished apartments will likely cost more, but if you don't have any furniture and don't plan to buy any furniture, renting a furnished apartment may be a good option.

Choose a location or several locations in which you would like to rent an apartment. Limiting where you want to look makes searching much easier, and you can view more than one apartment in a day if the apartments are near each other.

Decide what kind of living arrangement works best for you. Would you prefer to rent an apartment in a big apartment building where you can meet a lot of people, or a home that is divided up into two or three apartments?

Consider major factors, like proximity to public transportation or to your job. If you need to take a train or bus, is that possible from your location? Also, consider whether or not an apartment allows pets. This may not be an issue now, but it may be if you decide to get a pet in the future.

Think about your outdoor needs. If gardening is important to you, choose to rent an apartment in which you are allowed to plant a backyard garden. Your landlord may even appreciate this and reduce your rent in exchange for backyard maintenance.

Before calling any property owners, make a list of all of your needs and of any questions that you may have. It is best to ask all of your apartment rental questions in advance to avoid any surprises later.

Be prepared to have a security deposit and credit check. If you can not provide either of these, be ready to explain why and work out a compromise with your landlord.

Start searching for apartments. You can use Craigslist.com, your local newspaper and other websites such as apartments.com. You can also hire an apartment location or real estate service, which will find apartments that fit your needs for a fee. Word of mouth is also a great way to find apartments that fit your needs. If you are calling landlords yourself, keep track of who you have called and spoken to so you do not miss out on any great apartments or call anyone twice.

Set up a feasible and appropriate move in date. You may have to pay rent in two locations at once if you are leaving your old apartment, so try not to overlap your two apartment rentals more than necessary. Also make sure not to leave a gap between rentals.