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Finding the Best Deals on Apartments in a Pinch

Updated on April 4, 2013

Searching for an apartment can be confusing, annoying and downright stressful especially if you are doing so from out of state. However, there are some extremely simply steps that you can follow to help you choose the best apartment for your needs and to make your move as seamless as possible.

Determine Your Needs FIRST

Long term or short term? Pets or no pets? Close to schools or doesn't matter? These are all things you should consider when first looking for an apartment. It is always nice to have the pool, workout facilities and premium luxuries but if you fall in love with an apartment and forget one of your needs, you might be in a world of hurt. So make a comprehensive list of things you NEED to have and things you WANT to have. This will make your search a little easier when you are looking online or calling perspective apartments. If they do not have one of your needs then you can cross it off your list.

Be Open To Alternatives

You may have just landed your dream job and you are moving up in the world, but moving to a new city in 2 weeks can limit your choices so it is good to be open in your search. Apartment rating sites like are great for checking out large complexes but they are often overpriced with unneeded amenities like pools, workout facilities and other premium amenities that you may never use. You might benefit from checking local sites like Craigslist or doing a simple internet search to find better alternatives that meet your immediate needs. It may be easier and quicker to get into a big complex but you may be happier in a small house, an urban loft or a simple farm house, so don't always rush to the big guys, keep local in mind.

Ask For Move In Specials

Don't pay the list price for an apartment EVER when you first move in. Make sure to ask for move in specials, discounted rates or upgraded amenities like free underground parking. Most leasing agents are working on commission so they will work on the theory of no ask, no tell and they will sucker you in to renting at full price. So make sure you are asking for specifics when asking for deals and not just simply asking them to give you something. You can name your price on most apartments and they will either counter offer you or offer you a different alternative deal like the free underground parking. So my rule is always to ask what they can do for you since in the end, you are paying their paychecks with your rent.

Know Your Lease

When you are ready to sign your lease, make sure to read it very carefully since there can be undisclosed extra charges like non-refundable pet fees, facility usage fees or even license agreements with certain companies like cable and internet providers. You might think you are getting a deal when you just look at the monthly rent but make sure you look at other items included in your lease. Some apartments will only allow you to use certain internet and cable providers which can mean that you can't shop around for a better deal when your contract is up or they might have other fees for pool maintenance that are issued once a year so be aware that things can add up after rent. Make sure to ask any questions you have and get their answers in writing on your lease or on letterhead with a signature and a date so that you will be able to fight a battle if needed.

When push comes to shove, looking for an apartment does not have to be stressful even if you only have a few days to make a decision. Be sure that you are prepared with your list of needs, be open to alternatives and ask for deals so that you are able to get exactly what you wan

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