How to find an apartment in Minneapolis, MN
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Quick and easy guide to relocating to Minneapolis
Step 1: Decide what neighborhood you would like to live in. For that, I recommend another Hub.
Step 2: Determine your price range and bedroom needs. Keep in mind that a place that includes heat in the rent might save you $50-100/month in the winter.
Step 3: Begin an internet search.
Now, the best place to begin is craigslist just for the sheer diversity of places listed. This will give you a broad-view of how prices fluctuate among different neighborhoods. There are even price gradations within neighborhoods. As a general rule, prices go up as you get closer to downtown or lakes.
Step 4: Don't limit your search to craigslist. While it may be up to date and have a diversity of listings, craigslist is not comprehensive. This is especially important if you are looking in the near suburbs–Eden Prarie, Roseville, Bloomington.
Step 5: Hit the streets. Actually walking into a rental office will give you instant access to more apartments than an internet search. Larger companies have apartments opening up all the time and do not post them all. This tactic is especially helpful in a tight rental market where rental offices are renting apartments faster than they can list them on the internet.
Step 6: Choose and apply. Try to learn as much as you can about a building before you apply to live there. Even if this means loitering outside and asking people how they like living there. Sometimes an internet search about a building or a company will turn up nasty reviews, bad press, or worse. It's worth the time to ask and research.
Remember, it's Minneapolis. You're destined to spend six months inside. Make sure you like your future home.
What the landlord won't tell you:
Everything is negotiable. Sometimes landlords or managers will pretend as if their hands are tied on rent amounts, utilities, or parking, but everything is negotiable. If you want two parking spots instead of one, ask. The worst they can do is say no, but the more someone says no along the way, they might be more likely to say yes eventually.
In one case, I asked the landlord to install a dishwasher and he did. In another I asked for a second parking spot and got it. In these cases, I got them for free, but you might find that the landlord wants to negotiate back.
One quick note: if you negotiate an additional perk, make sure to write it into the lease agreement. If it's not in writing, your landlord could try to change the terms later on you.