Ultimate Guide to Finding Apartments

College can be fun. Friends and memories are made to last a lifetime and ones living arrangement makes up a significant impact on those friends and memories.

It's important to have a safe and secure and quiet environment in college so searching for apts for rent is quite a serious task. There are many things to consider and pay attention to, not to mention signing a lease. Whoa!

Get a grip and get ahead of the game with these tips to help find the best or cutest or most humble abode.

Prepare a Budget

It is generally suggested that the cost of a monthly rent not should be no more than 25-30% of one's monthly income.

Expenses to consider in a 1 bedroom apt include utilities, water, internet, trash, TV, cell phone. Don't forget about other regular expenses like gas and groceries. Pets are an additional expense. What about gym memberships and other extras?

Search Apartments for Rent Online and on Foot

Searching online and locally offers full exposure to the area to gain perspective on local businesses, streets/highways, restaurants, and gas stations.

Some of the most important features to pay attention to include the following:


Pay attention to the neighborhood and the location of the apts for rent in relation to other apartment buildings or houses or even businesses. People need natural light to survive, it's part of their biology, so be sure to look for homes that include plenty of yard/deck space.

Cost of Rent

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when searching for apartments for rent is to know the cost of the rent for the desired homes. There may be a cute little one bedroom that has perfect lighting and no upstairs neighbors, but the rent is far too steep.

Make this one of the first keywords used online and ask up front when searching on foot or talking to landlords on the phone.


Be sure to specify searches and confirm results with prospective landlords regarding the rental. Is it an apartment/house/condo? Other?!


Plan to visit at least 3-4 apartments per day on the days that are set aside for apartment hunting to ensure ample time is reserved for exploring each unit and asking questions. Don't overdo it.

Adhere to the schedule that is set. This gives the landlord confidence in the prospective tenant's respect and responsibility and also maintains stress and anxiety levels throughout this strenuous time.

Make Checklists

It may seem redundant but checklists can provide a true peace of mind when searching for apartments. With so many decisions ahead and so many things to consider in the meantime, writing everything down seriously optimizes memory and awareness.

Think of all of these things, and write them down.


Who will be the co-signer on the new unit? - most landlords require co-signers for college students, especially first-time renters.

It's imperative to have this person lined up before searching, or at least before speaking to landlords so that if a place comes up, everybody is ready right away.

Will there be roommates/roommates co-signers? If this is a large house or multi bedroom apartment and there will be non-family members occupying the unit, some landlords will require co-signers for all occupants, especially college students.

Thin about your credit history. Most college students have not established a credit history but it's important to keep it in mind. Landlords will want to run a credit report and likewise will report late or missed rent payments to the credit bureaus. Don't be late!

Must Haves/Amenities

Prospective tenants should keep a notepad on hand to make notes toward which homes come with what:

Dishwasher, washer & dryer, etc. - Some units come stocked with appliances while others only have space for the tenant to bring their own.
Bedrooms/bathrooms - How many? Most importantly, how big are they? Will the tenants beds fit?
Bathtub - some homes, especially 1 bedroom apartments, only have stand in showers.
Carpet/hardwood/tile flooring - What kind of flooring? Will this be acceptable for pets that may be coming too?
Vaulted ceilings
Ceiling fans
Lighting/Electrical Outlets
Square footage

Questions for the Landlord

Are there fees for application processing/administrative fees related to forms processing?

What is the deposit? Some landlords require a first month, last month and deposit equal to that of the monthly rent, up front before anybody can move in.

What's included in the rent? Sometimes landlords will pay for water and/or trash. Know what they pay and what they don't.

What is the general cost for utilities monthly if not included?

What is the general cost for other expenses related to the home that are not included in the lease?

Are pets included? Most landlords require an additional security deposit for pets and sometimes an additional monthly fee as well.

What is the laundry situation... on/off site, appliances available/included in unit?

Where is the laundry facility?

How much does laundry cost?

Other Factors

Parking - If the rental is in an apartment building, sometimes there is assigned parking, other times on/off street parking is first come first serve. Find out what the options are.

Security - Some apartments come with security guards or at least cameras. Ask the questions to know what is available.

Noise factors - Is this home near a commercial district? Highways/Roads? Construction?

if there's time, make a list that includes the best and worst of the top three apartments once all properties have been viewed and questions answered before signing a lease.

Read the Lease

It's important to read the lease thoroughly once an apartment has been decided and the tenant is preparing to move in. There are often added disclosures within a lease agreement that the tenant should be aware of including decorating, painting and use of the property.

Once the lease is signed, be prepared for an initial 'walk through' of the unit. Take note of any existing damage such as scuff marks on the wall, or loose hardware on cabinets and doors. Present this to the new landlord for confirmation, acknowledgment, and signature.

This releases the new tenant of any responsibility relative to those damages.

For more tips on what you can (and can't) do after moving in, visit RentalAds.com.