Despite our best wishes, 2021 has been pretty wild so far. Of course, this had ripple effects across industries, but immovable was fascinating. People have new opportunities to negotiate lower rents and the price of living in cities has gone down while the price of living in small towns has gone up. If you’re looking to relocate, here are four things you need to know when looking for an apartment.
Be super organized
Most landlords require proof of employment, one or two bank statements, and a photocopy of your driver’s license or passport as part of the lease signing process. You should also have a check ready to make as the security deposit if you decide to rent. And by the way, a check is better than cash because you have a record of it; if you lose the owner’s receipt and paid cash, you are SOL. Make several copies of these documents in advance and bring them with you as you review the rentals. If you see a place that you love, you’ll have a leg up on anyone competing for it and, yes, sometimes it’s competitive too.
Don’t overlook less desirable units
You can often get a good deal on a lower floor, for example, or somewhere in the back of the building that you can “get” without having a view. But at the same time, here’s another one: don’t sell yourself short by skipping announcements of newer developments or tall buildings. Look for the grand opening. Management companies often wish to fill a building as quickly as possible after opening to strengthen its notoriety and exclusivity. It’s simple: empty apartments are not profitable. Be careful when new apartment buildings hit the market, and you may be able to squeeze under the listed price. Yes, sometimes newer can be cheaper.
Pay attention to details
Regardless of the location, take a close look at all rental appliances, tiling, air conditioning / heating units, floors, paint, and all that jazz to make sure they’re in top condition before signing. Turn on the shower to check the water pressure (especially on upper floors). Count electrical outlets (some smaller or older apartments may only have one or two, and you’ll find yourself dangerously overloading your extension cords). Landlords are more likely to fix issues – and quickly – if they think failing to do so could be a deal breaker when signing the lease.
Start your negotiations
If you think you’ll be staying in one place for a while, ask your potential landlords if they’ll lower the monthly rent if you sign for more than twelve months. An eighteen or two year lease means less work for them trying to find a new tenant, touch up the apartment or house, and market the property at the end of the year, which could result in significant savings for you. If you plan to stay for a while and there are upgrades you’re willing to pay for, like installing a dishwasher, ask the owners if they would share the cost with you (usually by forgoing part of your rent). They can go; after all, they end up keeping the improvement.
With so many of us working from home over the past year, we’ve really made it a priority to live in a house that we love. It all adds up to a lot of people moving and moving. It is important to be smart and prepared when looking for an apartment. Don’t just go into the process without a plan. Knowing what to look for and what you are looking for. It’s super competitive, but with the right knowledge you will get the apartment you want.