So.. the title of this post totally gives the news away but yes, Miguel and I are planning on moving in August. Don’t freak out (you were freaking out, right?)–we’re not moving far–but we wanted to find somewhere slightly more affordable than our current apartment.
As some of you may know (or will come to discover) apartment hunting can be fun at first. You’re browsing Craigslist and you’re all like OMG look at this adorbs apartment we could totally live there and then you read the fine print and realize there’s no laundry nearby and that you’d be on the seventh floor in a building without an elevator. This ends up being a viscous cycle which then turns fun apartment hunting into stressful apartment hunting. I’d say our search was somewhere in the middle of fun and stressful. Both of us are planners and we didn’t want to wait until last minute to find a place. During our search, Miguel and I made a list of wants vs. needs for our new place, which was extremely helpful, so I decided to compile a list of tips for anyone else who may be searching for an apartment in the future.
1. Make a needs vs. wants list. It took us a bit too long to do this and up until recently EVERYTHING (literally everything) was on our needs list. Prioritizing “necessities” is going to make finding a place much easier. Do you need laundry in your apartment, or are you willing to go a few buildings down? Do you need central air conditioning? Do you need all utilities included or are you comfortable paying utilities separately? Everyone will have a different answer for these questions but they are all things to consider.
2. Map out the areas in which you’re willing to move and stick to those areas. There’s no point in looking for an apartment that is 20 miles away if ideally you’d like to be 5 miles away. Location is usually a pretty important aspect so make sure you know the areas and what’s around them (grocery stores, nearby shopping etc.)
3. Safety matters. Just because we were looking for a more affordable place didn’t mean we were willing to compromise our safety. Though Pittsburgh is a pretty safe city, there are areas to avoid, no matter how affordable they may be.
4. Looking never hurts. In total, we looked at five apartments before finding “the one”. Going to see an apartment never hurts and it’s good to see what’s out there and the types of apartments certain areas have to offer.
5. When in doubt, talk to family/friends/a random person on the street. If you’re looking to move to a new area, it’s good to know which parts of the city are considered livable and which parts aren’t. This wasn’t really a problem for us because we’ve both been living in Pittsburgh for five years, but many people move to further away cities and aren’t so sure about the area they are moving to. Talking to family/friend who are from the area or who have traveled to the area can be extremely helpful and a good first step for some initial guidance. Or, when you go visit the area, ask a person walking along the sidewalk what the area is like. It might be weird and random, but I bet most people would be happy to talk about the area in which they live.
Phew. Ok that’s all I came up with. Hopefully these tips will help you in your future apartment/house hunting adventures. Oh, and btw, we’re moving back to the area where we both lived last year, so not too far. AND our apartment is cheaper AND it allows pets…. 🙂 Juuuuust saying!
Q: When’s the last time you went apartment hunting? Any tips to add?