Not all apartments are the same. So how do you find the one that's right for you?

Decide That You Really Want to Make the Move

If you're ready to leave your parent's house for the first time or if you simply need a new place to live, there are important steps to follow to help you find the perfect rental unit. The rental market can be confusing, but if you know how to navigate it the right way, you'll find a great place at an affordable price.

Create a Budget and Check Your Credit

The first step to finding a great apartment is to determine your budget. Calculate monthly expenses and your income from your job. You want to make sure you can afford your new place while also paying your bills and having a little extra for fun and saving. Potential landlords will determine your financial fitness by running a credit check. Check your credit first to see where you stand.

The Right Location is Key to Your Housing Happiness

Next, scout out some potential locations for your new home. Research the best neighborhoods in your budget around your city or town. Figure in your commute time to and from work to see if it's close enough to your job. You should also consider other neighborhood essentials, such as proximity to shops and restaurants, recreation opportunities, crime statistics, and rental property availability.

Do Research on Individual Properties You’re Interested In

Once you've determined your budget and narrowed down the neighborhood, it's time to look for the right property. Use the internet to search for specific units for number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living space, and amenities. You can choose to rent at an apartment complex that offers many different units and regular maintenance, or you could go with a private landlord with personal service and less expensive rental costs.

Signing a Rental Agreement and Inspecting the Apartment

Once you've found the right place for you, be sure to carefully look over the rental agreement. Most places will require a security deposit of at least one month's rent and the first month's rent before giving over the keys. Do a thorough walk-through of your new place before settling in and calling it home. Document any problems such as damage or appliances that aren't working and inform the landlord.