Finding an apartment is much more than picking out the best home. When hunting for a new place to live, you must go beyond the apartment’s walls to explore the neighborhood and determine if it truly fits your interests and lifestyle.
The following six tips will help you decide if an area is right for you:
- Consider the Long-Term: While apartment hunting, you may focus on the here and now, but it is important to also consider where you will be a few years down the road. Are you interested in having children within the next year or two? If yes, make sure to investigate the neighborhood school system and nearby parks. If you’re single, pop into the local bars and restaurants to see if they fit your vibe.
- Have a Goal in Mind: If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, you may run into difficulties trying to narrow down a neighborhood. Prioritize the list of amenities that are must-haves for your neighborhood. If you know you want to stay away from noisy streets or busy shopping areas, you’ll start to uncover patterns and develop a clear apartment–hunting plan.
- Test Out Your Commute: Before signing the lease on a new home, check out your commute. The neighborhood and apartment may be great, but if you’re going to be commuting more than an hour each way, you may want to consider relocating closer to your job.
- Check Out What People Are Saying: Research is super important before moving to a new area! Spend some time on sites like StreetAdvisor and you’ll be able to get real reviews from locals about neighborhoods you’re considering. Talking to people who actually live nearby will relieve moving anxiety. You may even come away with great recommendations for coffee shops or stores
- Pay a Visit: No matter how much time you spent researching an area online, you’ll miss out on the chance to really feel what a neighborhood is like if you don’t check it out for yourself. Don’t forget to visit during both daytime and nighttime! When you’re out exploring, you can talk to residents and get some candid feedback about what it’s like to live in that particular neighborhood.
Niccole Schreck is the rental experience expert for Rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable apartment and provides tips on how to move.