How to Plan for Your Ideal Apartment

Moving into an apartment can be a big endeavor. It requires financial skills, personal insight, scheduling capabilities, and emotional endurance as your entire world is taken apart and then put back together in a matter of weeks or even days.

If you’re looking at apartments for rent and planning on moving soon, here is a blueprint for how you can plan to find the ideal apartment for your particular situation.

Build a Budget

The first thing you should always do is build a personal budget. This will help you understand what amount of rent you can afford. You can start your budget by calculating your total income. This includes paychecks as well as any side gigs that you can count on.

Next, add up your expenses. This should exclude any existing rent, renters insurance, or utilities (if you’re currently in an apartment), as that money will go towards your new living costs. Instead, add up recurring items like debt payments, savings contributions, Internet, streaming services, phone bills, transportation, and parking. Subtracting your expenses from your income will leave you with a rough idea of the maximum amount that you can afford for your new apartment.

Once your initial budget is created, it isn’t set in stone. On the contrary, you can then begin to work with what you have. Look for ways to free up money for future rent or even to build up cash for moving expenses by cutting down on discretionary spending. 

If money still feels tight, you can look for ways to boost your income. You can make extra money as a rideshare driver or picking up contract work online as a writer, graphic designer, or photographer. Not only does this give you more money to work with over the long-term, but it can also provide you with a nice infusion of cash in the short term as you save up for any additional moving expenses you might incur.

Consider Wants Versus Needs

Once you have a working budget, it’s time to consider what you actually need and what would simply be a nice bonus. Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to start gauging your options:

  • Is an apartment really my best option, or should I consider the pros and cons of other housing options such as a single-family house, townhouse, or even a mobile home?
  • What is the absolute maximum payment I can afford?
  • What area of the local town or city suits my daily habits, work, activities, and recreation the best?
  • How much storage do I need to fit my belongings?
  • Are there any local areas that are dangerous that I may want to avoid living in?
  • Is there a limit to the length of the lease I’m willing to sign?
  • Are there any rules, such as not allowing pets, that I’ll need to watch out for?
  • Do I have kids that I don’t want living near a pool or busy street?
  • Are there any luxuries such as a laundry machine that I really want to have in my apartment?

As you answer each question, create two lists of wants and needs. Prioritize both lists from most to least important. This will give you guidelines as you begin your apartment search.

Saddle Up and Make Your Move

At this point, you’re ready to start searching for your new apartment. As you do so, it’s absolutely essential to remember that nothing will perfectly suit you. Keep your list of prioritized wants and needs as well as your maximum rent payment figure handy.

As you search, look for apartments that provide genuine, stand-alone value (such as possessing a unique view or being within walking distance to work) and make notes as you go.

Once you do find an apartment that fits your particular needs the best, be ready to jump on it quickly. Don’t make any rash decisions, but if you hesitate you can lose the space before you know it.

Finding the Ideal Apartment

Finding the best space for your specific wants and needs isn’t impossible. However, it does require the ability to go into the process knowing both what you want and what you can afford so that you don’t make any mistakes you’ll regret down the road.

That’s why it’s critical that you prepare beforehand so you can make a decision with confidence when the time comes to sign on the dotted line and start planning your move.

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