Live in the L.A.P. of Luxury

mlberg By mlberg, 5th Oct 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Retirement

Need help getting started on finding that new apartment? Let's begin the journey to your next home.

Getting Started

You've finally made the decision to downsize your housing needs. A big decision but definitely the right one for you at this time. You've come to the conclusion that apartment living is the right choice for you and you're looking forward to the hassle free living that apartments bring.

Now the only problem is...where are you going to live? What sort of apartment is the right one for me. If you want to make the most of your search and end up with the right fit at the right price and in the right location try following these steps to your new home.

Make A List

Think about the top 10 things you're looking for in your rental home. It could be best view, washer/dryer in the apartment, an extra bathroom, a pool in the building, an exercise room, close to shopping, nice building staff. Whatever it is you feel you need to have to make your home the safe and comfortable haven it should be can be included on your list.

Now, put a star beside anything on that list that you would compromise on. For instance if the laundry machines weren't in your apartment but were in a room on your floor of the building would that suffice? If there was an outdoor pool but no exercise room, would that be acceptable?

Once you have the basics of what your looking for settled, it's time for the next step.

Price Point

Set yourself a price range. Consider what you want in the apartment and in the building (keep that list handy) then consider what you can reasonably afford in housing costs. An old ratio used many years ago is still a fairly good guideline to use when thinking about how much of your income should go to housing costs. If you budget on using approximately 40% of your income for housing, you will find yourself with an affordable and usually comfortable place to call home. Of course, this percentage is merely suggested to help with the initial thoughts on how much to spend for your apartment and doesn't take into account anything you may wish to 'give up' in order to get a higher priced apartment.

Don't forget to think about, and ask, what is included in the price of the apartment. Ask wether the price includes heating, water, air conditioning and so on.

Location, Location, Location

Much like the old real estate refrain, location is important in rental accommodation as well. You want to be where you need to be, where it's going to be most convenient for you to be. Because, after all, that's what apartment living should be....convenient.

Get a hold of a map of your city (the old fashioned kind that folds out). Put a pin or mark on the map in some way all the spots you go reguarly in your city. Don't forget things like family, friends, volunteer locations, church, shopping etc. Once you've determined where it is you go on a regular basis, look for buildings within that circle or within the area that you are most of the time. If you have a vehicle, you may be able to expand this area a bit. If you are using public transit, look for the routes that are most convenient to the places you need to be.

Now you've narrowed your search from the whole city to the area that will best serve your needs.

Let Your Fingers Do Your Walking

After you've identified the areas you would like to look in, start your search in the newspaper or on line.

If you know a specific company you'd like to rent from, look them up for buildings in your preferred area

Start your search by calling a few companies. Make sure you have your list beside you when you call and refer to it often. Ask if they have the amenities you're looking for.

Seeing Is Believing

Let's recap for a've made your list, determined where you need to live, worked on your price range and done some of your research on line. Now it's time to hit the pavement and see just exactly what's out there waiting for you.

Set your appointments approximately a half hour apart. Don't overwhelm yourself with places to see, it becomes confusing after 3 or 4 and you will end up with a foggy picture of exactly which building had what. A good day would be 3 viewings in the morning, take a break and then 3 more viewings in the afternoon. Keep the list of places to see and the phone numbers and names of the people you've contacted handy for reference.

Always take your 'wish list' with you. You never know when you may need to add to it or can cross something off.

After the viewings, make notes of what you saw
- what was the curb appeal like, was the building clean, was the apartment ready to move into
The impressions you got from the rental agent or building staff
- friendly, helpful, willing and able to answer your questions

Try not to make any hasty decisions. As with any 'sale' the person doing the selling will attempt to get you to sign on the dotted line then and there. Unless the apartment is screaming "Pick me, pick me" take your time. Make your notes, continue with your other viewings and make the best decision for you.

If you don't find what you're looking for on the first day, don't become discouraged. Simply regroup, look at your list again and perhaps adjust it slightly and call a few more places and set up appointments for another day.

You've Found The One!

When you've finished with all your research and leg work and you've finally decided on just the place for you....congratulations!! You've found your new home!

Having followed the steps from above you can feel confident you have found the right place to move to when you've sold your home or made the decision to change apartments. You'll feel like a huge weight lifted from your shoulders.

Now all that's left is the packing!

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