Apartment Hunting Hacks for Fast Results
With the housing market in turmoil, landlords of rental properties are enjoying a wave of intense demand for space. That means people who are currently hunting for apartments need to do everything they can to find places that aren't overpriced. The good news is that there are several sure-fire tactics for locating apartments suited to your needs, budget, and personal tastes. Besides reading as many online reviews as possible, consider refinancing college loans, taking in-person tours of properties, checking local crime stats, and doing one or more "undercover" visits to complexes that interest you. Here are details about how to get started.
Read Plenty of Reviews
The internet is awash with apartment reviews. Unfortunately, some platforms are fakes that use paid comments. Use high-quality sites whose reviews are verified. Spend at least an hour digging through comments and making notes about amenities, hidden charges, landlord attitude, and unresolved disputes. Give priority to platforms that include recent evaluations from real people.
Refinance Student Loans
If you're in the market for a luxury apartment, be ready to fill out detailed financial applications. One way to boost the chance of acceptance is to refinance student loans to reduce monthly expenses. Rental agents are more apt to approve your application if you have cash left over at the end of each month. People who are paying on one or more old college loans risk being rejected due to low cash flow.
However, refinancing current loans, or just one loan, into a new agreement means a quick reduction of expenses for borrowers who choose this route. Along with lower payments, it's possible to get more time to repay the entire amount, better terms, and more favorable interest rates. Finding an apartment is much easier when you don't need to worry about being turned down by owners of luxury properties.
Take Multiple In-Person Tours
Virtual tours via video are all the rage these days. They're a good place to begin but be sure to do in-person visits for all properties that earn a spot on your shortlist. Unless you must make an appointment, show up unannounced to see how friendly and accommodating the staff members are.
Formal tours are an excellent way to see all the main components of a complex up close. But remember that management walk-throughs are designed to show the best face of the property. For an objective glimpse, go undercover by visiting the property on a weekend evening when the front office is closed. Wander around as if you're taking a fitness walk, all the while making mental notes of cleanliness, grounds maintenance, security issues, the pet situation, the condition of the pool, and anything else that gives an authentic view of what it would be like to live there.
If possible, and without acting suspicious, chat with residents and mention that you're just walking through to get a feel for the place. Don't be surprised to hear the real deal from talkative adults who reveal all sorts of interesting details. Never enter a property that is gated or otherwise restricted. Always obey the law, which means only visiting apartment grounds that are open to the public.