Finding the right place to live is important — and there's more to it than just "location, location, location" when it comes to apartment living. Take the time to consider what you need versus what you want, and what your budget will allow, before you lock yourself into an apartment lease.
What's most important to you? Make a list of what matters most in an apartment. Include things like distance from work, friends, family and shopping. Do you want to be surrounded by hundreds of other units or would you rather live in a small apartment building? Does it matter if you're on an upper or lower floor?
What are your transportation needs? Will it be important to be near major roads, a bus route, subway or a bike path? For car owners, take note of an apartment's parking situation. Will you get a designated parking spot or is there on-street parking?
How much space do you need? Do you plan to live alone or will you have one or more roommates? Do you expect to work from home? If you're sharing the apartment, consider that you may want more than one bathroom. Get a sense of the minimum square footage you will need, but know that with a little imagination, even the tiniest of spaces are livable.
What extra perks would be nice? When you know what your basic needs are, consider what additional amenities you'd like, such as a balcony or porch, fitness room, swimming pool, paid utilities and security.
Do you have good credit? A part of the apartment rental process requires property managers or landlords to run a credit check to ensure you’ve got the funds to pay the rent. If you don’t know what your credit score is, you may want to obtain a copy of your credit report ahead of time so you can fix any discrepancies.