Finding the apartment that is right for your lifestyle and suits all of your needs can be a challenging process that takes quite some time. When it comes to apartment-hunting, there is an endless source of information out there that you can use. It can actually be harder to go apartment finding with so much information at our fingertips as it is hard to sift through what is useful and what isn’t, especially since a majority of people only go apartment hunting once a year or less and it seems impossible to sift through.

When searching for an apartment, there’s more to it then just the number of bedrooms and monthly rent.

The good news is that apartment finding does not have to be so tricky! Apartment Home Finders is here to help. Follow our tips to find an apartment that will make the process a hundred times easier and much less of a headache. Let’s get started….

Don’t take the square footage number for face-value

When you look at the website for an apartment, it will have the square footage of each unit listed. Typically, people gravitate towards the apartment with the largest square footage that they can afford; however, this is not always the one to go with, and it can end up costing you more money thinking this way.

Instead, look at how the floor plan is laid out. There may be a larger floorplan in your budget, but the smaller one may be laid out more efficiently and look like it has more room to spread out in. It is all about how the unit is laid out.

For example, do you often have visitors and guests? Be sure to check the entrance to the main bath — and consider whether if they may have to walk through a bedroom to access it.

Consider how important temperature control is

Many people may not mind whether or not they have full control over the air and heat in their unit.

A lot of older buildings have radiator heating and air system, meaning the entire building is one set temperature. The problem with old-fashioned radiators is that they often lack heat adjustment. The bonus of this model is that often these properties include heating/cooling in rent.

However, newer buildings can have central systems for each unit, meaning you can make the temperature precisely what you want it to be in your home and not have to settle. Deciding whether or not that is an essential factor to you will tell you whether you should look for an older or newer building to move into.

Know when to tour and apply for a unit

If you have ever lived in an apartment complex before then, you know that the prices for a unit can rise and fall at the drop of a hat and change sometimes by a hundred dollars or more from one day to the next. This is particularly true in Big Cities.

The experts say that if you tour and apply for an apartment on a weekday rather than a weekend you are likely to save much more money on your monthly rent. Before applying, watch the market and see when it rises and falls, so you know the best time to get in there.

Bonus tip: don’t forget your ID when you do tour! If you are moving for a job also bring your offer letter to verify employment.

Understand seasonal rent pricing

Just as there are better days of the week to look at and apply for an apartment, there are also better seasons of the year to do the same. A huge majority of people move during peak “moving seasons” between the months of April and September.

For this reason, the cost of an apartment can drop as much as 20 percent during the off months, meaning you could save thousands of dollars if you choose to move during the winter. If you need to move during the summer, consider finding a short-term place to live and wait until the winter to find a long-term home.

Check out the area that the apartment is in

You can only get so much out of an apartment tour. Sure, it shows you what the complex is like and how the units are set up, but it does not give you a full picture of the noise level in the area.

Having the worst place in the best neighborhood is one thing. Having the best house in the worst neighborhood is entirely different.

Before choosing an apartment, look around the area for things like big construction sites that you can hear, trains that will keep you up, etc. You want to be as far away from loud noise as possible so it doesn’t drive you crazy all hours of the day.

On a similar note, some people want the buzz and action. Come back at different times of day to understand if the neighborhood fits the lifestyle you are hoping for.

Rental add-ons do add up

The actual rent price of a unit may be in your price range, but if it does not include utilities then that price is going to go way up when you add that in. Ask about what utilities are included in your rent so that you do not waste your time touring and falling in love with an apartment that is out of your price range.

This also goes for parking.

Before signing your new lease, find out what the complex’s rules are about parking. Many complexes offer you one space for free and have you pay for additional parking while others include a parking fee in your rent. Find one that has either no or low fees as that cost can take away from your budget.

Got pets? This can also increase your down payment and monthly rental costs.

Find the nearest grocery store

How far do you want to go for eggs? In the winter months, you are not going to want to bundle up and drive thirty minutes down the road for groceries and back.

When looking for an apartment consider options as close to a store as possible for your convenience. The closer you are to local shopping, the better. Also give thought to how close you are to entertainment areas, the gym, cafes and other priorities for you.

Prices change based on lease length

Buildings change the price of a unit based on the length of a lease. It is typically much cheaper to rent an apartment for at least 10 months. This is particularly true for downtown, with lease terms under 6 months considerably more expensive. In fact, a three-month term could be nearly double from a 12-month term.

Conversely, be flexible in the length — even a 10, 11, 12 and 12-month term could vary in price.

Finding a new apartment doesn’t have to be a stressful experience

There are some steps you can take to make the process easier, including these tips you can follow to narrow down apartments right for you. Keep these insider tips in mind and, for a more hands-off approach, reach out to AHF to find your next apartment today.