1. What’s your budget looking like?
The last thing anyone wants to deal with is whether their paycheck will cover the rent and utilities at the end of the month.
When exploring the rental market, many landlords and property managers are only looking to do business with people who make at least 40x their monthly rent — if you’re a millennial or a recent grad, this is usually not the case.
The first step to making a good decision is to determine what you’re willing to pay. Second, figure out what you can actually pay after taking into account emergency situations, utilities, and living expenses. If all else fails, consider getting one of your parents to sign on as a guarantor.
2. Who do you want to move in with and where?
Living with someone you don’t get along with can be a huge headache.
The energy you spend dealing with awkward situations spilled juice on the carpet and constant dishes on the sink isn’t ideal. When considering moving to a new apartment, take some time to determine who you want to live with.
If you’re not ready to move with your significant other yet, ask your friends if they know anyone interested in moving in together — most times the people who are close to your friends will have much in common with you too.
Use Facebook groups in your favor and post that you’re moving and looking for your roommate — maybe that one friend from high school is also on the same path.
Usually going into the rental search process, you’ve already identified the general area you’ll want to live in. Once you determine who you’re going to live with, you’ll be tasked with narrowing down the precise location.
Things to consider when making this choice: price, commute time to work, public transportation options, community, and the nightlife (or lack thereof, if you’re not into it).
3. How long do you plan on living there?
Are you planning to start a new chapter and stay for a while? Do you have a partner and look to grow your relationship to the next level? Are you looking to hit the fast track to success in your new job?
These are all important factors in determining how long you want to stay in one location. If you know the stay is short and you can live with the basic essentials — allow this to play a heavy role in what you’re willing to put up with neighbors, landlords, and the condition of the apartment.
Take the time to really figure out what furniture you really need, what cable/internet package is really necessary, and how long you can put up with your next-door neighbors.
4. What do past tenants have to say about your home?
Ask this when you’ve determined what exactly you’re looking for in a new place.
When you get the opportunity to see a place or look for one, always start first by finding out what the current and recent tenants have to say about their living situation.
The website that gives you this kind of information, without making you hunt down every past tenant in the unit, is called WhoseYourLandlord.com (WYL). WYL is a website and IOS app enabling renters to rate their landlords and housing complexes and giving them the ability to find their next home.
This kind of platform can be your best friend when searching for a new home. Once you hear what people have to say, sit down with your soon-to-be roommates and make your final decision.