Apartment Living
A First Time Renter’s Guide to Apartment Hunting

You’re ready for your first place – or so you think. You may feel overwhelmed navigating the plethora of apartment listings available online, or you just don’t know where to start. Either way, Oakwood is here to help you navigate the complicated world of multifamily rentals with a few tips and tricks. Follow these practices to make the rental process a breeze.

Do Your Research. Moving can be exciting but stressful and overwhelming. Before you look at your first prospective apartment, decide on the area you want to be in. Learn what your commute will be like and how close the nearest grocery store is. You’ll want to address how far in advance you should be looking – are you ready to move now, or are you looking for apartments that require several months’ notice for availability? Different communities will have varying policies and availability, so you will benefit from calling in advance to get a feel for their inventory.

Know Your Budget. Whether over the phone or on your tour, you will need to ask what prospective apartments’ income requirements are. It’s standard to expect to spend no more than one-third of your monthly income on housing, but it’s important to factor in what else you’ll be spending depending on the apartment you choose. You can expect to cover standard utility costs, but think of other monthly deductions. For example, if the apartment doesn’t provide access to gym, how much will a gym membership cost?

Set Expectations. Before you walk into your first leasing office, know what you need in your new apartment as opposed to what you want. You may want stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, but you need a place with a washer and dryer included in a certain school district. If you have pets, make sure your furry friends will be welcomed at any of the communities you consider. Sorting out your wants and needs will help you strike a balance between meeting your budget and getting as many of your desired amenities as possible.

Don’t Stress. In an oversaturated market, it can be tempting to want to see every available apartment at every complex, but you’ll save yourself a lot of time by avoiding this. Choose a management company you trust, like Oakwood, and you’ll be able to quickly narrow down your search without compromising on quality. You’re picking out your future home, which should be an exciting experience rather than a laborious task, so have fun!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The leasing professionals at different communities have extensive knowledge of not only their community but the industry at large; if you don’t know where to start, check out a few of our suggested questions below.

Helpful Questions to Ask While Apartment Hunting:

  1. What are your income requirements and deposit amount?
  2. What are the community amenities?
  3. What utilities and other fees do tenants pay?
  4. What lease terms are offered?
  5. What’s your turn-around time for maintenance requests?
  6. Are there additional move-in costs?
  7. How long does the application process take?


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