Moving can be stressful, starting from the moment you
decide to move. Whether you’re a seasoned renter or if you’re moving into your
first apartment there are tons of items to think of and questions to ask yourself.
While this is not an exhaustive list by any means, these five questions will get
you on the right track. If you’re interested in learning more about Apex you
can check out our website, or apply
now to see what’s available for you. Give us a call or stop in to talk to a
What are your needs and budget?
Before you start actively
looking for a new apartment you should make a list of your top needs. What
amenities are important to you? Think about both “wants” and “deal-breakers”.
For example, you might find it nice to have hardwood floors or large closets,
but if you enjoy cooking a gas stove and dishwasher may be absolutely
necessary. If you’re more of a takeout type of person maybe a spacious living
room is more important. You should also think about the furniture you have to
make sure you’re only looking at apartments within the correct dimensions,
otherwise you may find yourself unwittingly playing a game of Jenga or needing
to buy all new furniture. Also think about community features, like a pool and
fitness center, and if you have a dog consider amenities like a pet park, or at
minimum pet waste stands to make your life that much easier.
As you’re thinking about what
your needs versus wants, also keep in mind your budget. Most apartment
communities require your monthly income to be three times that of the monthly
rent, but also keep in mind other monthly costs. For example, some apartments
include utilities like electricity, water, gas, or even internet in their
monthly assessments, but that’s not always the case across the board. Also keep
in mind there are often deposits, application fees, and other up-front costs
you’ll need to budget for. On the flip side, some community amenities may end
up saving you money, like if your new community has a fitness center you’ll be
able to cancel your gym membership.
Where do you want to live?
Once you have a list of
apartment and community features you want, you should start thinking beyond the
complex itself and at the surrounding area. Do you want something urban in a
downtown location, or do you prefer the more laid-back feel of a suburban
neighborhood? As you’re looking through the list of potential apartments also
make sure to zoom out on the online map and see what else is around your potential
new home. What are the grocery store options? Also consider other forms of
entertainment like shopping malls, nightlife, fitness programs, libraries, or
even access to hiking or biking trails. If you’re a dog owner also take a look
at pet-friendly places nearby so you don’t have to leave fido at home the entire
Keep these things in mind as you’re
touring communities as well. Make time to drive around the area a bit before or
after you tour to get a better feel of the neighborhood, or even pull out your
smartphone and see what businesses and locals are advertised near you. You can
also check out online reviews to see what actual residents have said about the
community and the surrounding area to get a better feel, or ask the leasing team
what they like to do in the area. If you have kids you should also see what
school system any potential apartments are in.
What would your commute look like?
Once you have a general idea of
where you want to live, it’s time to start looking at the specifics. First look
at the obvious, where your current job is relative to where you want to move. How
far are you willing to travel each way? Google Maps and Waze both have options
to see the average drive time for a particular time of the day, or you can try
driving it yourself to get a better feel. If you plan on taking public
transportation make sure you research where the nearest train or bus stop is,
and how often it runs. If the nearest stop isn’t a walkable distance, is
parking free or would you need to add that cost into your monthly budget?
If you work from home you may
not have to think as much about the commute, but there are other questions you’ll
need to ask and amenities you’ll need to think about. Working from home is a
great option, but you definitely won’t want to spend all day, every day in your
apartment (no matter how nice it is!). Many apartment communities are now
offering coworking lounges with free WiFi and charging stations so you can
escape your living room for a few hours without having to find a local coffee
shop and pay for an artisanal coffee just to get a change of scenery.
What other rules are there?
No one wants to be surprised
after they’ve signed away the next 12-15 months of their lives! While a good
leasing associate will answer most questions before you have a chance to ask
them, it’s always a good idea to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting
into before you sign, or even apply for, a lease. For example, what are the
details of the pet policy? Many apartments have weight limits, a maximum number
of pets, or breed restrictions. If you don’t currently have a pet but are
thinking of getting one in the near future, what would that process look like,
and what kind of deposit or monthly fees does that entail? Regardless of if you’re
a pet owner, you should ask about other rules and restrictions to make sure you
know everything beforehand.
Some other good questions to ask
Am I allowed to decorate the apartment, paint,
nail holes, etc.?
What’s the policy for visitors and their
What are the community quiet hours or other
What are the parking options?
What are the community area (pool, fitness
center, etc.) hours?
What are the lease terms, and what happens if I
need to break my lease?
How do I pay my rent, when is it due, and how
long do I have before a late fee is added?
Do they have a recommended renter’s insurance
What’s your moving strategy?
As stressful as moving is, the
pre-moving can actually be fun. Doing online research, browsing pictures and
videos, even going on tours can be exciting. Moving itself is usually not as
fun. Regardless of if you plan on moving in two weeks or two months, you should
start putting together a strategy as soon as you decide to move. First take a
look at how much you’ll be moving, and how far. If you have several heavy items
or a lot of boxes it may be worth it to hire movers, or pull out those IOUs and
get together a bunch of friends and rent a box truck. Once you’ve decided how
you’re moving it’s time to think about what you’re moving. As annoying
as it may be, moving is the perfect time to finally go through everything and
declutter. Try out the Marie Kondo’s
method, or something similar if you don’t want to go full KonMari, so you
don’t have to pack and unpack the same tchotchkes or high school memorabilia
for the fifth time and wonder why you keep some of these things.
As you’re packing keep in mind
what you’ll need when. Start with items you won’t need for a while, like extra
bedding, off-season clothes, and decorations, and end with daily kitchenware,
toiletries, and clothes you’re currently wearing regularly. That way you won’t
be frantically searching for plates to eat dinner the night you move or the
next day’s outfit. For boxes themselves, many grocery chains allow you to stop
by after regular hours to pick up boxes before they’re sent to the recycling center,
and if you’re using a moving company they may provide a certain number of boxes
free of charge.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely eliminate
stress while moving, but with the right know-how and proper preparation you can
make it as smooth as possible and maybe even a little enjoyable!
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