Apartment hunting is one of the most stress-inducing activities out there, whether you’re single, married or moving with a large family. But there are some renter priorities that are more important than others, and that you should hone in on. Here are some essential renter re-focusing points to help you out.
1. Keep social setting in mind. If there’s a bunch of bars and party spots downstairs and you’re not a party person, this won’t make sense. If you’re the opposite of a homebody and live in a neighbourhood with many families and elderly people, rethink it.
2. Think about how the place will affect your status as a light or heavy sleeper, on a similar note. If there are thin walls, loud neighbours and a staircase right next to an insomniac’s apartment, we’re willing to bet that it won’t end well.
3. Keep location in mind. This doesn’t mean living off the beautiful park or mountainside you’ve always wanted to. It means an easy commute, close to your work or your kid’s school. Something that makes sense as the puzzle piece that is your life.
4. Think about pricing! Even if it’s not your dream apartment. People say that rent should comprise about 30% of your income. If you go outside the budget make sure to think about if the neighbourhood is generally pricey, and utilities.
5. Think about floor plan and square footage with the style you like. If you hate the idea of a bathroom next to a kitchen, or a tiny bedroom, it might be a dealbreaker. Thinking about your style fitting in versus just getting a steal is essential.
6. Always get a second opinion. A roommate, friend or parent can act as reinforcement and see the flaws or upside that you may not be able to in the stressful moments of apartment hunting.
7. Hold on to your priorities. Sticking to your priorities helps you understand what’s really important in the chaos of the search. There should only be a couple of these things on your list – don’t make it lengthy and hard to fulfill.
8. Do you prefer entertaining and hosting, or would you rather be the one hosted? If you entertain family or friends, open concept kitchens and livings rooms are a safe bet. If you go smaller or less open concept, think about finding a community with outdoor patios, pools, or dining rooms.
9. Start searching early in the month. If you wait mid month, you’ll miss out on the top prices, amenities, and locations that are often sought after. The first weekend of the month provides ample but quality choices, and less competition.
10. Last but definitely not least: don’t get suckered into a scam! Never give out your credit card info online, or give a deposit just to be shown an apartment. Don’t rent privately without meeting someone in person, and signing a safe contract. We suggest you stick with a broker instead.