Searching for a new place to call home takes a good amount of time, research and thought. The traditional timeline for an apartment search usually takes a few months. If you find yourself in a huge time crunch and need to find an apartment in a week, we’ve got a few tips for you. It’ll be a stressful week, but it’s more than possible.
Calculate a Budget
Before you even begin looking at apartments, calculate how much rent you can afford. We advise using the 30% rule to figure out how much you should be spending on rent. Ideally, 30% of your monthly income is the maximum you should spend on rent.
Research the City and Neighborhoods
Take a deep dive on the internet and check out the neighborhoods and parts of the city where you’d be interested in living. Check out things like crime rates, Walk Scores, and nearby hotspots on Yelp. Find a few areas that you’d be comfortable taking up residence. You may not have enough time to visit the city and stroll through the neighborhoods to get a feel for them. If you have questions about a city or neighborhood, check out local forums like City Data and ask locals questions.
Develop a Shortlist
If you are planning on touring each apartment you’re interested in, keep your shortlist, well… short. You won’t have the time to visit every apartment that looks like a decent option. Pick out a few that fit your requirements and are in the areas you find desirable. Pick out 5-10 apartments options you are interested in. Only look at apartments that have current availability since you’ll be signing a lease within a week.
Make the Calls
Emailing might be more efficient for landlords, but making phone calls to set up tours will probably be a quicker turnaround. Take two days out of the week to dedicate to apartment tours, and get them all scheduled on the same day. Make sure you give yourself adequate time in between tours to get to and from. If you’ll be venturing around a new city, chances are you’ll get lost a few times.
Before going in for your tours, come prepared. Have the questions that you want answered for each apartment. Hopefully you find an apartment that checks all of your boxes on these tours, so make sure to come with all of the essential paperwork you need for an application. Make sure to have your license, proof of employment, recent pay stubs, your checkbook and references from previous landlords. Have their contact information ready to go. To further speed up the process, you can give your references a call to let them know they’re being used as a reference and will be receiving a call soon. The landlord may need to pull up previous paperwork from your time renting with them, which could take some time.
Determine a few criteria to help you weigh your options. Do you desperately need in-unit laundry? Will you be okay with living in a studio, or do you need a one bedroom? Map out what’s most important to you, which will help weigh the different options. Remember, you probably will only be tied down to your apartment for a year. If it’s not 100% perfect, that’s okay. If you’re hesitant about committing for the full year, ask your landlord if there are any options for short-term leases.
Finding an apartment in a week will not be easy by any means, and will require you to make many snap decisions. Do your homework, make your apartment viewing thorough, and ask plenty of questions. It’ll be stressful, but it’s far from impossible.