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How to Successfully Relocate as a Renter

By: Yuki Graviet Knapp
April 26, 2016

When in the process of looking for a new home, one of the biggest sources of frustration is knowing that the answers to our questions must be out there, but not knowing where to find them. At Apartment List, we believe that the entire renter experience, from search to lease, should be as stress-free and efficient as possible. We (specifically, our renter specialists on the Customer Success Team) are here to answer your pressing questions and get you on your way. In this first piece of our series, we answer questions relating to the issue of relocating. Read on for some great tips!

1. How can I qualify for an apartment?

If you are looking to qualify for an apartment in your new area, money is the big factor here. Make sure that you are earning at least 2.5-3x the total amount of rent you will be paying for the duration of the time you’re planning to live in your apartment. For example, if you’re looking at a monthly rent of $1,500 and you plan to rent for 12 months, you need to provide proof that you will be earning (or already have saved up) at least $45,000 during that time.

Proof of this can be provided in various ways. If you are planning to stay at your current job by the time you sign your lease, you can provide past pay stubs. If you have a brand new job that you have not yet started, your offer letter (which should include your salary) is a perfect form of proof. Additionally, international renters and international student renters will need to provide visas and student visas to qualify for renting an apartment in the United States.

2. I have little ones, and I want to live in a safe neighborhood. How do I ensure that?

Great news: contrary to what people might initially think, there are actually lots of ways to find out what you need to know! If you're looking for expertise and hard facts about the safety of your neighborhood, the best things to do are 1) call the local police station and/or 2) check websites like crimereports.com. If you want to get a better feel for the area in general, check out neighborhood and city guides, which will help give you a more localized perspective. Our Apartment List website has guides for cities and neighborhoods all across the nation that include information about area demographics, annual events, best times to move, popular local spots, and more.

3. How can I find out more information about schools when moving to a new area?

Websites and reviews online can be very helpful in determining which school is your best fit - once you've narrowed down your top choices, it doesn't hurt to contact someone at the school district office, or a principal, or perhaps even someone in the PTA. Getting to speak with a person who actually has experience with the school in which you're interested could prove inordinately helpful to you in deciding where to live and which school to pick. Once you've decided which schools/school districts are the best match for you, find out which zip codes are included in the district and start looking for apartments in those areas!

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