10 Apartment Hunting Tips (+ Free Printable Checklist!)


The apartment hunting process is often stressful and time-consuming, but can also be immensely rewarding (especially when you find the perfect place to call home).

Can you attest to any of the following happening to you at one time or another?

  • Falling head over heels IN LOVE with a place, only to discover the landlord selected someone else
  • Viewing an apartment due to it's amazingly cheap rent price, and realizing the low price was for a reason
  • Looking at 6 places in 1 day, and realizing none of them felt "right"

These 10 apartment hunting tips will ensure you're efficiently prepared so you can snag your dream spot with ease!

Is the apartment prone to getting bugs or other critters?

Typically, landlords are upfront and will let you know if you might see an occasional spider or two, or whether there's an ant problem or other pests that you'll have to be aware of.

What can you tell me about the neighbors?

Although the details you get when asking this may be pretty vague, generally it's nice to know if you'll be living among others in your age group, or a mix of young professionals and families, etc.

What is the sound-proofing like between units?

You'll want to know if the walls are thin or thick. How easily will you be able to hear your neighbors?

Is the security deposit flexible?

Some landlords I've worked with have been kind and accommodating, allowing me to split my security deposit into two payments, or even shaving a few hundred dollars off of it. Always ask this question!

What are my limitations on personalizing the place?

Having the flexibility to paint rooms in a color of your choosing and hang a gallery wall is always a plus.

Turn on the faucets and the shower. 

Is the water pressure decent?

Open the fridge and freezer and any other appliances. 

Are they clean? Do they smell?

The bathtub. 

Check the grout for signs of mold or mildew. A small to moderate amount of mold may not be an inconvenience (of course, you'll want the landlord to take care of it before you move in), but a full-fledged mold problem could affect your health. Bathrooms with exhaust fans will help prevent growth and excess moisture.

The exterior and interior of the building. 

Is the landscaping well kept up? Are the common areas clean and inviting? Do you see trash in the elevators, hallways, or stairwells?

Electrical outlets/jacks.

Are there enough in each room? Do they function properly? Consider the desired placement of your router, telephones, and televisions and make sure the availability of outlets is ample.

Stand Out From the Competition and Bring An Apartment Hunting "Resume"

Consider offering the landlord a 1-page apartment hunting resume only if you are serious about pursuing the place. While an application may contain similar info, you can include a photo, your full name, email address and phone number, along with a description of your current job, salary, and past apartments (with references).

It's a quick way to set yourself apart and get a leg up on the application process.

Email or Fax Your Application Immediately!

Timing is everything! If you know you want the apartment and you're offered an application right then and there, fill it out on the spot, or take it home and email or fax it in immediately. Some rental markets are extremely tight (I'm looking at you, San Francisco), with as little as 2-4% vacancy, so a quick turnaround can be the difference between getting a place or not.

Go With Your Gut.

Every single apartment I've lived in gave me an all-encompassing feeling of "this is the place" from the second I stepped inside. It just felt right. So most importantly, trust your intuition!

Best of luck in your apartment hunting search!

And don't forget to download your FREE printable apartment hunting checklist! Print a few copies and take them along with you.

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