Friday, April 5, 2013

Homemaking 101 | How To Find An Apartment

Why We Looked At Apartments
Last fall Autry & I were talking about marriage & life together. We originally wanted to get a house, but things for that did not work out like we had originally planned so an apartment was the next best thing. However, finding an apartment can be quite a process so I'm here to help those of you who may need one out! It's usually a lot of the same questions asked over and over for each new place you find-and-call, but still there are some things you might want to consider before just getting anything since you do have to put in a lease of some sort of 6-12 months for most places. Okay, enough chat about me...lets get on with the process!

Steps To Take For
Finding Your Own Place

Decide on Location
The first thing you should do when looking for an apartment is decide the location. After that, and if you can, drive around that area and see what's there/available. Write down apartment names & phone numbers. Most places have a huge sign with the name & a phone number out front so don't pass that up if the place looks like something you'd want to rent! If you don't have the ability to go driving around the area before hand, and you don't know anyone who lives close enough to check it out for you then do a Google search with something like "apartments for rent in oklahoma city, ok", for example.

Call Them!
Once you have a few apartments on your list start making phone calls. The things you should ask are:

~what is the monthly rent? and for how many rooms?
~are there any application fees? if so, how much? how much is refundable?
~what is the deposit?
~is there a pet policy? if so, what is the deposit? how much is refundable?
~what is included in the rent price?
~do you have to pay for water, trash, electric separate or is this included in the rent?
 ~what do the average utilities run? (if electric is separate from rent)
~What appliances are in the kitchen? Stove, dishwasher, fridge?
~Is laundry in apartment, on site or elsewhere?

The Condensed List
After making phone calls you'll probably find that a few apartments were: a) out of your price range; b) not in a location that works for you; c) doesn't allow pets {this is a big one for us!}; or d) some other reason... You now have a list of apartments to work with in finding yourself a new home!

Living Arrangements
Before you fill out forms you need to figure out who exactly will be living in the apartment with you. Many places require a separate application per person in the apartment and/or they only allow so many people to apartment. If it is your own family/children you should be okay, if it is college room mates you may have to figure out things such as their birthday, a phone number and/or their social security number.

Get Your Info Together
Now that you have your remaining apartments on the list you need to figure out if you'll be turning in online applications or paper applications. Gather up the info you'll need to fill out the forms. I've found it easiest to keep track of this info by writing it on a Word Document so that I can edit and add to as needed. Some things, like previous addresses, should have dates of when you lived there, how much the rent was/is, and the reason you moved out. The same goes for current & previous jobs. These are things you probably WONT remember years down the road when you need it. Oh, and write down the phone numbers where it applies.

Here's what you'll probably need to have:
 ("+others" means: and anyone else who WILL be living with you!!)

~Your social security number +others
~Your birthday +others
~current phone number(s) that you can be reached at
~your current address +others
~Anywhere from 2-5 previous addresses with phone number, reason for leaving, landlord/owner & amonut paid for rent
~bank information or at least the amount you have in checking/savings
~current job info: position working, pay recived, phone number, full address, date of hire, supervisor, employed from/to
~past job info, see just before this

Turn In The Applications
Some places may charge you a processing fee when you turn in your application. This is one thing you may want to know about ahead of time...aka when you make the phone call & before you have filled out the forms!

Depending on the place you may be able to submit applications online, but many ask you to deliver the forms in person.

Now it's a waiting game. Just hang on while things get through the process. If you're only turning in at a few places then I'd give it anywhere from 3-7 days before calling again. Unless you've actually talked to the manager or owner it might be a bit longer than that. I do know that some places can take up to 30 days to get things processed, you just never know. You can call to check on the status of your application if that helps you know how things are going. This is also good to do if it's past 30 days and you haven't heard anything from them at all. They may be having trouble getting a hold of you! Autry & I were able to get our apartment and move in within a week so things just depend on the place and timing.

Good luck on your hunt! Hopefully this info helped you out! Let me know if you have any other tips or ideas or notes that I can add to this post to make it all the better! :)

Want to read more on Apartment Living? Click here!

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  1. This is a great post for someone who may not even know where to start!

  2. Great post Helen. You covered it all! What a gift this will be for a new home hunter. :) It also made me realize how very fortunate I was with my own apartment hunt back in the day. When I was 19 I lucked out in that a friend of mine was getting married and her place became open. The landlord was a Christian. He was thrilled to have someone move in that he didn't have to worry about. :) It was such a blessing! I lived there for eight years before moving out of state and actually was able to move back into the same building one floor up two years after my move out of state and stayed from that point another ten years before leaving the state again.

  3. I remember apartment hunting when my husband and I were getting married:) Wish we'd had your list of tips! It was a sweet time - that first apartment - with so many funny stories.

  4. I remember apartment hunting when my husband and I married - it was a sweet time, with funny memories - your tip sheet would have helped:)

  5. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick


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