It is crazy to me that I am now in a position in life that I have to apartment hunt. That I am at the point in my life where I can venture on my own and have my own life. But I never expected all the ins-and-outs that come with apartment hunting.
Here are a list of rules to keep in mind when you are apartment hunting:
1. Test the faucets - you don't want to sign a lease and have poor water pressure.
2. Always go apartment hunting when it is rainy- this allows you to see if the roof leaks or if the driveway floods.
3. Have a list of questions prepared- i.e. "If you move in on the 15th do you get pro-rated rent?" "Are pets allowed?" "What is the typical [insert any utility bill here] payment?"
4. Visit properties you are serious about at night, you get a better feel for it when all the other tenants are home, i.e. open parking spots, noisy neighbors.
5. Keep in mind apartment hunting is a lot like buying a car, you want to shop around before you settle on one you like.
6. Rank your choices. Knowing which properties are your top 3 and why they are your top 3 will help you know what you are looking for and narrow your searches
7. Keep your selections to a neighborhood or two, limiting your choices is helpful when you are going through open houses
8. Check more than one search engine or place. It is good to check apartments.com, but also check craiglists, and the newspaper classifieds as well. Not all landlords are tech savvy.