Be smart when finding a new apartment; not only can you save money, but you can also reduce stress.

Be smart when finding a new apartment; not only can you save money, but you can also reduce stress.

We finally heard from the builders and they are only willing to lower closing costs a bit and it won’t even cover half of our expenses. Fed up, we asked our agent to get the paperwork started to get our earnest money back. It’s back to the drawing board. We’re looking at finding an apartment with a short term lease or month to month rent while we continue to house hunt. Our current apartment has jumped too high to stay.

We’re looking at storing most of our stuff and keeping the essentials at a smaller apartment. Prices have lowered quite a bit in the area for apartments and we’re hoping to find a reasonable deal.

Finding the Right Neighborhood to Rent In

Start with Google. It pays to look ahead on some things before considering a move, such as:

  • Crime (look at the amount of crime and the type of crime): Did you know that some police districts have crime analyst who have records on crime in an area? I wasn’t aware that we had this valuable resource available. You can call crime analyst to get information such as pulling up record of calls and what the nature of the calls were for to get an idea of the safety of the neighborhood.
  • Shopping Areas (Are they conveniently located?): If you’re able to get your essentials without having to travel to far, you can save some money on transportation.
  • Libraries, Parks, Attractions, etc. (You’re trying to find places that interest you.): This is a personal preference, but finding attractions that appeal to you nearby can help reduce costs.

If the area doesn’t do well with any of the above criteria you may just want to skip visiting the location and save yourself time. Since we’re staying the same city it’s easier for us to know which neighborhoods to check out. We’re still asking around though in case we’re missing a diamond in the rough.

Scouting the Neighborhood

Once we narrow down our choices, we’re going to scout out the potential neighborhoods. sometimes things look great during the tour, but they don’t really affect the day to day situation.

  • Visit on a Friday or Saturday night. This visit lets you know if the place is too noisy and rowdy for you or if it’s not exciting enough. My cousin is a city girl, so she needs things to do and happen. (She’s a great salsa dancer.) My sister likes someplace peaceful and quiet at night. Each would have a different opinion of the same neighborhood.
  • Look to see if your bank is located nearby. (This might not be an issue if you’re considering changing your bank.) With banks charging $3 for out of network users, this is something to seriously consider. I wrote some tips on how to cut down the ATM fees.
  • Ask for directions a few times. Try and see if the area is generally friendly or not.
  • See if good public transportation is available. Fluctuating gas prices have made public transportation a consideration in some cities. If the area you’re considering has a great mass transit system, then you can save thousands of dollars a year and reduce the stress of sitting in traffic.

Home Security Tips

We attended a community watch meeting where the officer gave some practical tips on improving the security of your place. Some of these seemed like common sense, but they are still good reminders.

  • Always check doors/windows to make they are secure
  • Keep outdoor lights on at night!
  • Keep tree limbs and hedges from blocking doors and windows.
  • If you go out of town, have a neighbor gt your mail or have the Post Office temporarily hold it.
  • Secure all outside storage doors when not in use.
  • Report suspicious behavior to the police.

Your Thoughts

What do you think about apartment hunting? Do you have any tips?

Photo Credit: longlostcousin