How to Find an Apartment in a New City (Industry Expert Tips)

by Tara Caruso

Updated

Moving to a new city can be both an exciting and daunting experience. 

You’re likely to face many new challenges, but with the right preparation, you can make the transition much easier. 

One of the most important things to do is find a place to live. This article will discuss some tips on how to find an apartment in a new city and what to do if you can’t find an apartment.

Trend on the Rise

Converting a van into a tiny home. The tiny home trend has been on the rise in recent years, as more people strive to downsize their living spaces and simplify their lives. If you’re moving to a new city and are open to this type of living arrangement, you can search online for van conversion companies in your area.

Who to Trust When Looking For an Apartment

Trust is a major factor when it comes to finding an apartment. 

Unlike buying a home, where there are many resources and regulations in place to protect buyers, the apartment rental market is much more lax. 

As a result, it can be difficult to know who to trust when looking for an apartment. 

Which raises the question: how to find a place to rent in a new area? There are a few key things to keep in mind when searching for an apartment. 

First, look for apartments that are managed by reputable property management companies

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These companies will typically have strict policies in place to ensure that their units are well-maintained and that tenants are treated fairly. 

Second, read online reviews before signing a lease. Even if an apartment seems perfect, it’s always wise to see what others have said about the management and maintenance before making a commitment. 

Finally, be sure to visit the unit in person or have a friend or family member visit before signing anything. 

This will allow you to get a better sense of the space and make sure that it meets your needs.

If you’re scared that renting is throwing away money, it’s important to at least have your temporary needs met.

Tactic for Success

Prepare financially for your move. Make sure you have enough money saved up to cover the cost of deposit and first month’s rent. You should also research the average cost of living in your new city and budget accordingly. Additionally, if you’re moving for a job, make sure you have a solid offer in hand before making the move.

How to Start Your Search

One of the first things to consider is what kind of neighborhood you want to live in. 

Do you want to be in the heart of the action or a little more removed from the hustle and bustle? 

Once you’ve narrowed down your search area, you can start looking at specific apartments.

There are a few different ways to find apartments for rent in a new city. You can search online listings like Zillow or Redfin, Apartments.com, or HotPads. 

Another option is to check out classified ads like craigslist but be careful of scams. 

There are many apartments that still put up signs, so driving around is a great way to find something too.

Once you’ve found a few potential places, it’s time to start contacting landlords and scheduling tours. 

Before touring an apartment, it’s important to have a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves. 

This will help you narrow down your options and make sure that the apartment you choose is the right fit for you. 

Tactic for Success

Join local facebook groups. Local facebook groups are a great way to get a sense of your new city. Oftentimes people post about apartments for rent in these groups. It is also a place you can post for what you are looking for and people can comment or message you on possible rentals.

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How to Find a Place to Live When Moving Out of State

Starting fresh in a new state can be both exhilarating and intimidating. There are a lot of things to think about, including finding a new place to live. 

One of the best ways to find a place to live in a new state is to actually go visit and look for places before you make the big move. 

This way, you can get a feel for the different areas, figure out where you want to be and even sign a lease in person. 

Another option is to search online listings but it is hard to know who to trust. There are many scams out there, so you need to be careful. 

If you haven’t visited or don’t have any friends or family there it may be best to go with a rental through a management company this way you can be more confident that they are legit. 

This way you can look up reviews and also have some protection.

Don’t forget you can also contact a real estate agent to help you find a place. They will be familiar with the area and can help you find something that meets your needs.

Trend on the Rise

Sublet an apartment. Subletting is when you take over someone else’s lease for a period of time. This can be a great option if you’re only looking to live in an area for a short period of time or if you’re not ready to sign a lease yourself. Subletting is not always allowed, so it is best to check first.

What should you take into consideration when searching for an apartment:

  • General Location – Do you want to be in the city or in the suburbs? Do you want to be close to public transportation? 
  • Size of the Apartment – How much space do you need? Do you want a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom? Do you need a lot of closet space?
  • Rent Price – How much can you afford to spend on rent?
  • Lease Length – Are you looking for a short-term lease or a long-term lease?
  • Possible Amenities – What amenities are you looking for? Do you want a gym in your building? A doorman? A pool?
  • Pet Policy – Do you have a pet? If so, you’ll need to find an apartment that allows pets.

How to Negotiate a Lease 

Once you’ve found an apartment that you’re interested in, it’s time to start negotiating the lease. 

The first step is to get a sense of what the landlord is willing to negotiate on. Some landlords are open to negotiation on things like rent price, length of the lease, and pet policy. 

Others, however, are not as flexible. It’s important to remember that the landlord is not required to negotiate, so you might not be able to get everything that you want.

If the landlord is open to negotiation, the next step is to make an offer. When making an offer, be sure to include a justification for why you’re asking for a certain concession. 

For example, if you’re asking for a lower rent price, you might point to the fact that you’re willing to sign a longer lease. 

Once you’ve made your offer, the landlord will either accept, reject, or counteroffer. 

If they accept, then you’re all set! If they reject, then you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to compromise on your original offer. 

If they counteroffer, then you’ll need to evaluate their new offer and decide if it’s something that you’re willing to accept.

typical-needs-for-renting

What you typically need to rent an apartment:

  • First Month, Last Month and Security Deposit – This is standard practice when renting an apartment. 
  • Good Credit – Most landlords will check your credit score before they approve you for an apartment.
  • Proof of Income – Landlords want to make sure that you can actually afford to pay the rent, so they’ll often ask for proof of income.
  • Past References – You’ll need to provide the landlord with references from your previous landlords.

What to Do When You Can’t Find Somewhere to Live

They say moving is one of the most stressful life events. Not only do you have to find somewhere that meets your needs, but you also have to deal with the hassle of moving. 

If you’re on a timeframe and not able to find somewhere to live, a short-term rental can be a great option. 

Airbnb and other similar companies offer a wide variety of rental properties, from apartments to houses. 

And because you’re only renting for a short period of time, you don’t have to worry about signing a long-term lease. 

It may cost a little more and if you have furniture you will probably have to put it in storage but it can save you a lot of stress in the long run.

Wrapping Up

Moving is stressful but there are things to do that can help make the process a little easier. 

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time and be patient, it may take some time to find the perfect place but it’ll be worth it in the end.

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About the Author

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Tara is a licensed real estate agent in Southwest, FL. She helps buyers and investors find their dream home by educating them about real estate and how they can use it as an investment.