The hunt is over! After a couple months of apartment hunting, my roommate and I finally signed a lease one week before I begin work. We will now officially be living in Center City Philadelphia in a beautiful two bedroom two bathroom apartment for less than $800 rent a month each!
We first started our search back in October hoping to close a deal on an apartment that was a 5 minute walk to work. If you remember my post about rationalizing the price of rent, you would know that commute time was a major factor! Unfortunately, this deal fell through because we did not put an offer down quickly enough. More on this later, though.
After this deal fell through we continued apartment hunting. This eventually led to us finding a brand new apartment complex that was being built roughly 20 minutes, walking, from our job. Upon physical inspection of the place, we immediately put an offer down on the place and within a week we closed the deal.
Throughout this process, I was able to learn many little tips to help you not make some mistakes we made. Here are four practical tips I realized during my apartment hunting that will help you save time and money!
Be Cash Ready
As I mentioned earlier, we did not put an offer in quickly enough for the apartment we viewed in October. Five people saw the apartment the same day we viewed it and two people put an offer in that very day. My roommate and I decided to wait until the following day as we needed to get our money in order to pay the down payment. Due to our unpreparedness, we lost the deal.
This is why you must be cash ready when apartment hunting. If you see an apartment that may be a good fit for your living, put an offer on the table immediately. This shows the owner you are interested and improves your chances of getting the place.
Time of year matters
While I was speaking to our realtor, he told me that realtors generally charge lower rent prices during the winter months to attract new tenants. While I am not sure if this statement is 100% true, he told me that if our apartment began rent in the summer months, rent would have been $250 higher.
Always do a physical visit
I have to be brutally honest. Pictures can be very deceiving. The apartment that we did not get looked far better online. The floors were old and the kitchen and bedrooms were far smaller than the pictures looked. This is why I am very happy we did not settle for this place.
Having that physical inspection provides an extra level of assurance. It allows you to visually confirm that this is the place that was shown online as well as allows you to meet the owner.
Check for any deals
We will be getting one month rent free. The reason for this is that our building is still unfinished. Every day for the first month of living there, workers will be moving in appliances and furniture into the unfinished apartments. This will result in some dust and noise. If this is the case with somewhere you are moving, ask if they are willing to give you a free month or reduced rent.
Other places we looked at had deals such as reduced price of rent for first and last month, the owner would pay for heating and/or electricity, or free parking. Find what suits you best and make sure to add in those benefits into the total price. For example, getting that month for free drops our average price of rent over the contract down by over $100 a month!
How was your apartment hunting experience? What others tips would you give renters?