Friday, June 8, 2012

2012 Apartment Search Tips

It's crazy how much the rental market can change in two years. Here are some of my tips based on this month-long apartment shopping experience.

10. You are probably going to have to use a leasing agent. I know a lot of people use agents that their friends recommend. I use agents that have the best listings online. That way, there is no pressure to listen to the sales dribble they spit about why one place is better than another.

9. If what you want changes, tell your agent right away. When I originally started looking I gave a lot of northside neighborhoods. Once we started pounding the pavement, I realized that the north side didn't provide the types of places I was looking for (spacious, to entertain, somewhere I'd be happy coming home to daily, etc.) I thought the agent could intuitively pick up on what I was liking and not liking (based on the apps I put in), but I had to explicitly tell him to take the north side out of the search. Life was better after that.

8. Stress non-negotiables to your agent - I told my agent I wanted 1BR, w/d within a certain price range. Because I was looking at units in a certain area, she assumed I wanted to be walking distance from work. When I filled out the app for an apartment, it said "why do you want to move?" I said something like more space/I need w/d. She looks at me and goes "OH, you want washer/dryer?" It was at this point that I realized that we are all really alone in the world, but yeah, just say what you want over and over. These agents are working with a bunch of folks. They can't remember your life.  

7. Know your non-negotiables and stick to them. I listing agent said there was a washer/dryer in a unit I saw. When I tell you it was gorgeous, it's only because I can't find a better word. It was spacious, beautiful views, floor to ceiling windows, high/artsy ceilings, perfect location, hardwood floors, great for entertaining. AND they had Ikea bookshelves and wardrobes that stayed in the unit. I wanted nothing more than to live there, but it didn't have washer and dryer. My leasing agent called the listing agent and dude talmbout "there's washer and dryer in the basement." Complete waste of time. If I was a woman who tired easily, I would have just taken that apartment, but I need washer/dryer in unit. It's really all I want in life (that and a boat)

6. Work with more than one agent - At first I felt bad for doing this, but one of the agents was very detailed and put-together. The other agent had a better handle on what I wanted and was very responsive. Working with them both gave me all of what I needed to get the job done. Kind of like dating in multiples, but that's a whole 'nother blog series, isn't it? 

More on this tomorrow. Save your comments until then. :)