#Moving is probably one of the most exciting, yet daunting tasks that we have to face during the course of our lives. Usually, we’re excited because we’re about to venture to an undiscovered territory, but on the other hand, we tend to be bogged down with trying to figure out the specifics such as where, how much, when and etc. All of these questions without answers can sure cause a massive headache during a time that should actually be exciting. With that being said we have compiled a list of the top 10 things you should consider on your apartment hunt.
I. Personal Inventory
The first thing we have to consider when looking for apartments to rent is "what we're looking for". The answer to that one question will be the basis for any steps moving forward in the moving process. A "personal inventory" is the perfect way to determine what you're looking for. When doing a personal inventory you should consider the number of members in your family including pets, how much space you have now versus what you need, current amenities you have now that you may still want to have when moving somewhere else, the schools your children attend, your current place of employment and other everyday key factors that will help narrow down the choices in your search for apartments for rent. If you know what you need from the beginning and set your parameters it can make it easier for you to narrow your options down and help streamline the process.
II. Know Your Budget
Once you did your personal inventory and decided how many rooms you need, estimated square footage, or perhaps if you can fit a dog house in the back yard, it's time to determine your budget. Despite how many rooms you need or if you want a back yard you probably already have a ballpark figure for what you want to spend, if you don't now is the time. I would suggest maybe going to Google and searching for the number of bedrooms you want or square footage just to get a general figure for what your rent could be. After you have done that find what amount in the range from lowest to most expensive and set your budget accordingly. When taking your budget into account you have to consider application fees and that most apartments for rent will require a deposit. So hypothetically if approved for an apartment you would initially be out of pocket an application fee, administrative fee, deposit, and the first month of rent. So when budgeting its not just for what you can pay monthly, but also being able to cover the initial expenses that come with moving. If you're going to need a moving company or help with moving you should calculate at least an estimate of the amounts in your budget because it will help keep you out of the red zone. Knowing how much your willing to pay and how much the apartments go for in your area will definitely help make the apartment search easier.
III. Anticipated Lease Length
Do you know how long you want to stay at the apartment you are about to move into? Some properties offer 12-month, 18-month, or even 24-month leases. Some places require that you do an 18-month lease and not a 12-month lease. Do you want to be in this new apartment for over a year? Is this a long term move or short term move? Do you plan on building in this new residence or is it just a step to get you from A to B? If you have a child that's not yet in school, do you still want to be living here if he or she starts school soon? Do you already have in mind your goals moving forward and what you intend to do during this time period to move forward? Taking this into consideration can also help you start to keep track of your upcoming plans.
IV. Set a Date
It's very easy to say "Hey, let's move". The bad part about that is you have to have a general time period or date by which you want to move. Setting a date not only narrows down your list of apartments for rent because they have "availability dates" it also helps you refine your budget. When moving anywhere and with any company, they may not always have units available when you want, or possibly they have a higher deposit that would push back your move-in date because you need to save. These are all things that must be taken into account when thinking about moving. If you stay somewhere else and are currently under a lease, do you have to give a 60-day notice, do you need to do some repairs to ensure you get back your security deposit, are there any upcoming events that may need financial backing or may affect the ability to move? These are things that must be taken into account and situated within the time frame. Applications have to be processed and employment verified. Not only do you have a time frame in which to operate, but so does the leasing company. When setting a date you should consider any outside factors and regular day by day scenarios that could interfere and make the best decision after evaluation.
V. What's Your Preferred Location
Okay, at this point you've done what some people would call the behind the scenes work. You've done your personal inventory, set your budget, figured out how long you want to stay at this new apartment your about to rent and you set a date. Doing all these things have set you up undoubtedly for a path of success. Here comes the fun part, figuring out where you actually want to live. Memphis is basically a large circle, if you hop on the interstate you could literally pretty much go around the whole city. Some would say you're pretty much fifteen minutes from anywhere. Memphis has many different neighborhoods offering different amenities depending on what suits you. Determining location is a big deal because it affects your children and their schooling, your job, and your social life depending on where your family and friends are located. Pricing also fluctuates depending on the neighborhood that you want to move in, which needs to be considered when making the choice to move. For example, if you like to shop, but want to stay in a quiet area but not too far from the busy life you could move to the Winbranch Apartments located in Whitehaven which is only minutes from the Tanger Outlet in Southaven, MS, and Graceland. If you wanted to be by some great some schools and close enough to the interstate where you could easily take a trip you might go to Cordova. It just depends on your lifestyle and your budget.
VI. Calling the Offices and Checking The Websites
Now that we have picked a location and are moving forward in our hunt for apartments for rent we can begin to make some calls and visit websites. You could start by googling "Apartments for Rent" or "Apartments Near Me", maybe even search apartments in the specific area that you decided on such as "Apartments in Whitehaven or Apartments in 38116". This will help narrow down the search criteria. When searching for these apartments most also allow a filter to set the amount, be sure to put your maximum amount in there as not to be tempted by apartments that are out of the budget. Generally when searching on "Google" a lot of secondary websites that populate information will be given, not always the apartment's direct website. I would suggest when you find a property you like to try and find their direct website as they tend to provide more detailed information. Remember you need to know what the application fee is, if there is a deposit and how much, the length of the lease, the floor plans they offer, and any amenities. Between the initial call to the office and your personal investigating you should be able to compile a list that answers all your basic questions.
VII. Reviews on the Apartments, Office Staff & Maintenance
So, at this point, you have picked a location, searched for apartments for rent in that area, and made calls to get information. However, there is some information that the office cannot give you. This information is the kind that comes from first-hand interaction. When looking up potential apartments for rent you should look at the comments and reviews that people leave. Some will be legitimate and some will not be, but they will give you an indicator of the type of company that will be in control of your living environment. You can search on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or any of the rental websites you see. You don't have to just look up reviews on the apartments that you are looking at you can also see if they have other properties and see what the reviews are like on those. Maybe even make a social media post asking people if they have ever stayed in a property that company managed and see what responses you receive. You want to live somewhere that makes you smile when you pull up, where the staff is courteous and concerned and maintenance provides the utmost top-notch service. Now that may seem far fetched to be able to get all three, but you want to aim to get as close to that as possible. It will only prove beneficial for you in the long run.
VIII. Visiting the Area & Understanding the Community
The time of truth pretty much is the visit. When you go out to visit a property its probably because your highly considering moving in that apartment. It's in the area you like and it seems to be in the budget so you decide to make an appointment or maybe just swing by. When you're driving into the apartments you should pay attention to the exterior of the buildings, the people you see moving around, the functionality of the cars in the parking spots, as in do they just allow inoperable cars to sit on the property, is there trash everywhere, do you hear a lot of loud music and just think about the general vibe you get just entering the property. Once you go into the office pay attention to how the staff greets you and the other people in the office. Try and pay attention to how the staff interacts with each other. You want to know that business is being taken care of and that you will be somewhere you can trust. Any information you did not obtain in your search now is the time to get it. Ask about the community and events that happen in the neighborhood. Inquire about the crime rate and things that happen in the area. Do your best to get an understanding of potentially your new surroundings and neighbors and if it would be a good fit for you and your family.
IX. List of Pros & Cons
At this point, you're probably tired. I'm sure you've searched online, visited properties, made some calls, and went and saw some things you loved and some things you could probably go without. Some of the pricing was as you already knew, but some of it was actually different once you got in the office. Maybe some of the staff was not professional and left you with a bad vibe and you're not sure it would be a good fit. This would be a good time to compile a list of pros and cons of each property you visited and see what really matters to you, what you're willing to compromise on and what you're not. Once you have this list in front of you it should make it fairly easy for you to decide your top contenders and ultimately make your step moving forward potentially flawless. The next step is well deciding which one.
X. Is It Worth it?
You did your list. You figured your pros and cons and picked your top three candidates. Now you have to decide which one you want to go for and if it's ultimately "worth it". By this, I mean after considering every detail all the way down to the last penny, you have to ask yourself if you would be happy going home to this every day. If your answer is yes, then you should apply for the apartment and move forward with the process. If your answer is not yes, then maybe you should look for different places, maybe reconsider your location choices or maybe reevaluate your budget. At the end of the day, you are going to be paying your hard-earned money to live somewhere you love. So, if you don't love it, don't live it.
In closing, this is just a guide to help streamline your apartment hunt in Memphis. As property owners, we are aware that the moving process can be a hard one, but we feel these ten simple steps will ensure a smoother more effective transition. When you have all your ducks in a row it makes it easier to handle business and makes it easier to deal with any possible wrenches that can be thrown in your plans. Ultimately, it is our goal as property managers to ensure that our residents have the ultimate moving experience, and that includes potential "future residents", like you.
We "Thank you".
Happy Apartment Hunting.