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How To Find & Assess a New Apartment

What is the secret to finding a great apartment?

Whether you're looking for basic living or upscale extras, you're wise to start looking early. Once you determine the neighborhood you'd like to live in, visit several locations and do some comparison shopping.

Couple researching how to find an apartment

When you walk through an apartment, have these items with you:

  • tape measure (to see if your furniture will fit)
  • plug-in night light (to test all of the outlets)
  • light bulb (to test light fixtures)
  • flashlight (to examine unlit areas)

Print the Atlas Apartment Comparison Checklist (pdf) for each apartment you visit and record your findings. But don't stop there—knock on doors and introduce yourself. Are the neighbors friendly? What do they think about the way the complex or building is managed? What do they say about noise?

Bringing a plugin night light to test the outlets.

Once you find the apartment you want, be ready to act. Have your checkbook, proof of income, references, and credit report on hand. When you meet with the manager, be punctual, neat, and friendly. The good impression you make will work in your favor.

I have a disability—how do I find a place that's accessible?

If you are disabled, you can find accessible apartments on popular websites, such as: Apartments.com, ForRent.com, MyNewPlace.com, and Rentals.com. Specify "disability access" or "handicap access" to locate places that can accommodate you.


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