5 of the Biggest Apartment Hunting Mistakes

Author: Alecia Pirulis


Renting an apartment is a big deal, especially if it’s your first time, or it’s been a while since you have been in the market for a new apartment. You’re about to enter a new chapter in life, but your excitement can lead to costly mistakes. To avoid putting yourself in an unfortunate apartment living situation, take a look at five of the most common apartment hunting mistakes renters make:

  1. Know what you need: Knowing what you need, what you want and what you can sacrifice are the first steps in the apartment search process. It only takes five minutes to jot down how you picture your ideal living situation. Once you have a clear view of your needs, you’re in a better position to make the right decision.

  2. Signing a lease without reading it carefully: No matter how quickly you need to move, don’t enter a lease in a rush. Read the fine print, and if you have a knowledgeable friend, family member or attorney, now is the time to ask for assistance. Trust your gut, and if it feels wrong, don’t sign. You can try and negotiate the terms if you see any disagreeable details.

  3. Inspecting a model unit: You should inspect the actual unit you will be renting. Some apartment communities will try and convince you the floor plan is exactly the same in a model unit, but the immaculate details you see in one apartment is often different than the home you will rent. Taking photos with your digital camera or camera phone makes it easy to document pre-existing damage prior to signing a lease.

  4. Not taking your roommate to appointments: This is your first major decision to make with a roommate, and apartment searching is time consuming. It might be appealing to save time by splitting up visits, but in cities where vacancies are limited, you could miss out on the perfect apartment by scheduling separate appointments.

  5. Paying rent you can’t afford: Budgeting is a big component of responsibly renting an apartment, so don’t agree to monthly rent you can’t afford. Even if you find an apartment with all the bells and whistles, it won’t mean anything if you can’t buy food, can’t make your car payment or lack a little extra spending money. The general rule is to spend 33% of your income on rent, but if possible, it would be best to stay under budget.

Now that you know the most common apartment hunting mistakes, you are ready to put your new knowledge to work and find the perfect apartment, head over to ApartmentFinder.com to begin your hunt!