Tips for Finding an Apartment in the City

How to Find Your First Apartment

Moving into the city is a fun, exciting adventure but finding a place to live can be overwhelming. Between high rent costs, various neighborhoods with different “perks” to chose from, and deciding on what amenities you need in your new space/building, the process takes time and once you find that place that you can see yourself calling home, it’s all about acting fast.

Be serious about your budget

It’s expensive to live in a city and that’s how it’ll always be. Having a great place in a central location that all of your friends drool over is great, but if that means having to sacrifice the things you love to do – visiting museums, visiting new restaurants with friends, traveling to new places – ask yourself: is this apartment really worth it?

Before you start the apartment hunting process, go through your financials and figure out how much you would ideally like to be spending on rent (& utilities!) and how much you absolutely can’t go over. This will help leave a little wiggle room if you find a place that’s too good to be true.

Keep an open mind

When I first started looking for an apartment in the city, I was dead set on living close enough to work that I could walk there. I was already spending close to $500/month on commuting costs living at home with my parents and the idea of spending a little more on rent each month to be within walking distance to my office in order to eliminate commuting costs all together was something I was more than okay with.

In the end, I opted to live a little further outside of the area I was originally looking in and now live with three other girls, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Sure, in a perfect world I would have loved to be living alone and a little closer to work (my commute is about 50 minutes door to door with commuting costs around $100/month) but I love my apartment, the location, and my roommates. The moral of the story? Keeping an open mind about where you live and who you live with when you move into the city (or anywhere, for that matter!) can bring so much unexpected joy and new friendships into your life. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, I promise you’ll be happy you did.

Consider Your Lifestyle

This one relates back to being serious about your budget but it’s jmportant to consider your lifestyle when you’re on the hunt for a new place. Figure out what’s important to you and your every day activities. This could range from where your work, to your daily schedule (Do you like to go to the gym on your way to or from work? Where is the closest grocery store? If you don’t have laundry in unit or in building, where is the closest laundry mat?) and the activities you participate in on the weekend (I.e. museums, restaurants, exercise classes, etc.).

This might require a little extra research but it’s important to consider all aspects of your life when moving into a new city and looking for a neighborhood to live in. I’m currently living right outside of the city, in a residential area. I am able to walk to a handful of restaurants, stores, and the gym I go to, but other activities, such as grocery shopping, do require me to have a car and getting to work does require public transportation.

Submit Your Application Right Away

The reality of living in the city is that the great apartments are few and far between, so when you find a good one, submitting your application right away can make all the difference. Even if you only kind of like the place, I can guarantee you that if you decide to sleep on it, the apartment will be swooped up by someone else while you sleep (quite literally).

Utilize Any & All Resources

There are so many resources out there that will help you find an apartment in the city and you should 100% take advantage of all of them. Apartments.com, Hotpads, and other city-specific apartment tools (I.e. Craigslist)  are a great place to start off, but more often than not lead to frustration. Even though they cost more, utilizing a real estate broker when moving to the city can be game changing. With their wealth of knowledge and resources, they will be able to educate you on the different neighborhoods and the benefits of each as well as know about properties that will be coming to the market soon. If that doesn’t make a brokers fee worth it, I don’t know what does!

What advice do you have for those looking for a place in the city?

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22 Comments

  1. 5.30.18
    Danielle said:

    I’ve never had the task of looking for an apartment in a city environment, but all great tips to keep in mind and super helpful for those on the search!

    xx, Danielle | Pineapple & Prosecco

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      For sure! Finding an apartment regardless of where it is can be a real struggle!

  2. 5.30.18

    All great tips, especially the one about keeping an open mind. I’m a bit too picky in what I like to live in a city. I need more space, which is why I live in a house far away from the main city, lol.

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Hahaha I’m with you on that one!

  3. 5.30.18
    Rita said:

    Great tips! Definitely very helpful while searching for an apartment. Thanks for sharing.

    Rita | http://www.styleroundtheclock.com

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Rita! Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. 5.30.18
    Stephanie said:

    My fiancé and I have been desperately trying to find a place to live for after we getting married and it’s proving to be a much bigger struggle than we initially expected! Apartment and home hunting is HARD. But I’m looking forward to when we finally settle into a spot we love! Thanks for the tips!

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      It’s SO hard! I can’t wait until you find a place you love (mostly so I can see all the pictures!).

  5. 5.31.18
    Meghan said:

    As much as I love the city, it’s such a struggle to find a good place. I think it’s always important to be mindful of your budget but also don’t settle for something you’re not happy with. You could be stuck with a loud alleyway or neighbors for an entire year and that’s NEVER fun.

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      I totalllly agree!m You gotta find something that works for YOU.

  6. 5.31.18
    Ruthie Ridley said:

    Awesome tips!! City living is no joke!!

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Ruthie!

  7. 5.31.18
    maggie said:

    Great tips! Finding an apartment in the city can be overwhelming sometimes!

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks lady!

  8. 5.31.18
    Liz said:

    These are such great tips! Will definitely bookmark this!

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Liz!

  9. 5.31.18
    Amanda said:

    Although I’ve never done it myself, I’m sure trying to find a great apartment (at a reasonable price!) in the city is a struggle. To me your tips are right on point and even make suggestions I wouldn’t have thought of. Great read!

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Amanda!

  10. 5.31.18
    Emily said:

    So many great tips! Loved this post!

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Thanks Emily!

  11. 6.4.18

    Such great tips! Thanks for sharing, girlfriend! xo

    • 6.21.18
      Rachel said:

      Aw, thanks Kari!