Finding an apartment is about more than just finding a place to lay your head at night; it’s about finding a home. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an apartment, and a few different ways of finding the right fit.
Location, Location, Location
The real estate mantra is just as true for apartments as it is for houses and businesses, but what does it really mean? What you’ll consider to be a good location will depend heavily on what your family looks like. For families with kids, it’s important to find an apartment that’s close to a good school. For a family without a car, it’s important to find a central location, so amenities are nearby and bus routes are plentiful. To know what location will be best for you to live in, simply ask yourself: what do I want near me? Where does my family travel each day?
Space in Your Place
Think about the size of your family, both now and in the near future. Do you think your family is going to grow within the next couple of years? If you do, it’s sometimes best to invest in a larger place so you can be prepared for new additions to the family. Do you like to host parties? You’ll probably want to find a space with a large living room and kitchen; you might also want to make sure you stay on the bottom floor! There are apartments of all sizes - you can rent a 3-bedroom apartment in Winnipeg with a huge dining room or you can find a smaller one bedroom apartment with a cozy kitchen.
What’s In the Budget?
You may have heard of the 50/30/20 rule; 50% of your budget goes to your needs, 30% to your wants, and 20% to your savings. You may have also heard rules that suggest no more than 30% of your budget should go to household expenses. While there are a few different ways of budgeting, you should always feel comfortable being able to pay for your home and other essentials with enough cash left over to buy the things you want and put money aside for the future. When you’re looking at a new home, if you think it might be hard to fit the rent into your budget, it may be a good idea to reconsider.
The world of real estate has shifted dramatically since the advent of the Internet and that’s true of apartment hunting, also. There are many sites online that offer real estate virtual tours and can help you find a great place to live. You can check out the websites of property managers to find vacancies. You can often filter your search by location, amenities, number of rooms, and more.
Meet and Greet
Take the time to talk to the landlord in any space you’re considering; if you’re feeling social, talk to some of the residents, too. You should also read (and reread) the rental agreement. Ask questions as they come up and don’t hesitate to ask for an explanation if you don’t understand a policy.