Thanks to the internet, it’s easier for many to find apartments online today. For first-time movers or online apartment hunters, the process can be daunting. In the guide below, we’ll help you out with choosing the right apartment online.
Know Your Budget and NeedsBefore you get on your computer and find an apartment online, know your needs. A good way to discover what you need is to put everything on a list. Consider everything that you deem essential and non-essential in your apartment bunt. This list may include features like:
- In-Home Laundry
- Pet-Friendly Communities
- High-Speed Internet
- Swimming Pools
- On-Site Fitness Centers
- Proximity to Transportation and Other Amenities
Also consider design elements within your apartment that you’d like to see. Does that include lots of natural light and large windows, upgraded finishes like granite countertops, or open-concept floorplans? List these items as well for consideration when deciding between various communities or floorplans.
Set a Timeframe on Your Online Apartment SearchAlways be sure to budget enough time to look for an apartment before you need to move. Ideally, start your search 1-2 months in advance of your expected move-in date. This will allow you to get more accurate pricing and availability when inquiring with apartment communities. If you live in a more populated or in-demand area, begin your search earlier so you have enough time to snag the apartment of your dreams.
Prepare the Necessary Documents and Run a Credit CheckSome landlords will ask for documents from you to use for background check, credit check, or income verification. Some commonly requested documents include:
- A letter of employment
- Your last 2 pay stubs
- Tax returns if you’re self-employed
- Reference letters
Some companies may run a credit check on potential residents. Gather each of these documents ahead of time so you’re prepared and ensure your credit report looks great and address any issues before applying for apartments.
Head to annualcreditreport.com to receive a free credit report each year from the major credit bureaus.
Use Online Resources to Find an Apartment OnlineCheck different sites and use various apps to find an apartment that best meets your preferences and needs. Start with reputable sites such as:
- Apartment Guide
- Apartment List
Also conduct a Google search for apartments in the area you’re looking for. Check individual community websites and reviews to get a better feel of the community and culture. Check out Google Maps and the locations of each community to get an overview of what the nearby amenities are.
While Craigslist is a good site to use for apartment hunting, you’ll need to be wary of scammers there. Be extra critical when you consider offerings listed on Craigslist.
Keep A List, Then Narrow Your SearchKeep a list of the communities that interest you and that have availability within your move-in date. After completing a first-round list, take a small break, then revisit the communities on your list to start “shortlisting” apartments. Cross of any that don’t meet your needs or budget.
Take a Virtual TourOnce you have your apartment shortlist created, start taking some virtual tours. Today, most apartment owners have a website where you can see inside the apartments. Others have mapping and touring tools that allow guests to take virtual tours by Zoom call or other methods.
Focus on the layout of each apartment, as well as where each of your must-have features are located. Try to visualize your furniture in that apartment.
Talk to the Leasing TeamAfter the virtual tour, you’ll probably still have some questions to ask about the apartment. If you do, the next step in learning about the community and specific floorplan you’re interested in is to speak with the leasing team.
Call the leasing office (or landlord if it’s a private owner) and get a feel not just for the community, but for the staff you’ll be frequently communicating with. Be sure you’re comfortable with the staff there before making a decision to move in.
Check Online ReviewsLook online at Google Reviews or those on ApartmentRatings.com to get an idea about what the current and past residents think of the community. Be sure to read through them and see what the biggest benefits and/or issues are on site. No community is 100% perfect, however, the response to reviews and issues will signal that the management truly cares about their residents.
Inspect and Sign the LeaseBefore you sign anything, make sure you read through the entire lease agreement and as any questions you may have. Be sure to note important sections such as rent due dates, security deposit amounts and conditions, and rules and regulations within the community.
Are you looking for an apartment in Frederick, Maryland? We may have the right floorplans, pricing, and amenities for you. If you have any questions about our apartments, our team is more than happy to help you out. Contact us today!