Starting the apartment hunting process can be daunting. Maybe you’ve found yourself in this spot before—your last apartment wasn’t a perfect fit, so you’re looking for a new place. Or perhaps it’s your first time, and you’re not sure where to start.
You’ve got your work cut out for you. But with these apartment-hunting tips, we’re going to make this process a little easier for you.
In this guide, we’ll cover the top 10 lesser-known tips for apartment hunting. These little tricks will help you scout out the best properties, choose from a list of potential apartments, and get ready for the big day:
You’ve got one month to find an apartment. But so do all the other tenants looking for a place. Apartments are flying off the shelves!
You don’t want to settle for something lesser just because your options were limited. That’s why you need to start looking ahead of time.
Ideally, you should start searching for an apartment 60 days before your move. That gives you two months to find the perfect place. It might sound like a lot of time at first, but you’d be surprised how quickly the time flies.
An indoor swimming pool and gym sound great, but how often will you use them?
Remember that each amenity affects your monthly rent. If you’re on a monthly budget, you need to choose carefully.
Which amenities are most important to you, and which ones could you do without?
If you don’t have a car, you’ll value access to transit routes, and in-suite laundry will be a great benefit. If you do have a vehicle, you’ll need a parking spot (but you’ll have more flexibility with the apartment location).
Let’s imagine that you’ve viewed a few apartments and you’re trying to choose between them. Amenities can be the deciding factor, but before you opt for the one with a pool over one without, consider this: Would you rather have a pool or save on each month’s rent and use that money for something else?
You want an apartment unit that you can comfortably afford, and amenities play a major role in that. Choose wisely!
If you have the luxury of choice, consider waiting until the right time to apartment hunt.
Just like the housing market, rental property prices fluctuate throughout the year. Most people start apartment hunting in the spring or summer, and when demand is high, so are the prices.
You can’t always pick which month you move out. If your lease is expiring or you need a place ASAP, you have to take what you can get. But if you have more time on your hands, consider waiting until winter. The lowest apartment rates are typically between October and April.
There’s less competition for apartments in the cooler months. Property managers often lower the rent prices of units—they may even offer a free month as an incentive. That means you can pay less for a place you love.
Photos can be deceptive. Before you sign a lease, visit the location in person! An apartment unit might look perfect in the pictures, but when you go in person, you may find that the ceilings are lower than you thought or there isn’t enough natural light.
Here’s another little-known apartment-hunting tip: Bring a tape measure!
Use it to measure the dimensions of each room. With these numbers, you can figure out where your furniture would go. You’ll thank yourself later for taking these measurements ahead of time!
Even if you’ve found the right apartment…it won’t feel right if the area isn’t your vibe. You want a location that suits your lifestyle, and that will look different for everyone.
Rent prices vary from one neighbourhood to the next. On top of that, the location of your apartment can affect the cost of your renter’s insurance.
There are a lot of things to consider before you move in. For more information, check out our post on the best neighbourhoods to rent in Winnipeg.
You’re sitting on an application for a place you really like—when should you hand it in?
The answer: As soon as possible!
Wait too long, and that place might be given to someone else. This is another reason why you should give yourself plenty of time for your apartment search. If one unit gets rented out, you’ll have other options to choose from.
You’ll be communicating with your landlord or property manager pretty frequently over the next year. At your showing, spend some time talking to them. Get a sense of who they are, their management style, and availability. This also helps you make a better impression if you decide to apply.
You can ask them questions like:
While you’re there, strike up a conversation with the neighbours if you see any. This will give you a sense of what the general vibe of the building is like.
Sealed the deal? It’s time to start packing your bags and boxes! Give yourself as much time as possible to prepare for your move; there’s a lot to get in order before the big day. By preparing ahead of time, you can stay organized and reduce your stress levels.
Packing early can be a double-edged sword, though. You don’t want to put away the belongings you need every day or week—otherwise, you’ll be digging through all your boxes before you’ve moved them! Start with the non-essential items first.
Look very closely at any lease agreement before you sign it. Lease agreements vary from one apartment building to the next. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for by reading your lease carefully.
The internet can save you a lot of time, especially when it comes to apartment hunting. Before you set up a showing and travel to the apartment, you can check the online listing to view photos, features, and amenities.
Not sure where to look for apartments online? We’ll get into that next…
With the above apartment-hunting tips, you’ll have all the know-how you need to make finding the right apartment a breeze. You’ll feel confident that you can find the perfect place to call home!
At Globe Property Management, we have hundreds of Winnipeg apartment rentals available. Finding your new apartment will be fun and easy with our online tool. Browse our available listings today!