An apartment isn’t a house, but it’s definitely still a home. The right apartment will completely shape your experience during your college years, career relocation, or early family life. Thus, it is important to find the right place for you. Such a search can difficult, especially if you are moving into a big city or have a limited budget. However, following the tips below can provide a good start.

Start Your Search Early

Begin your apartment search as soon as you know that you’ll be in the market for a place to live. Some apartment communities have waiting lists and promise their units out months in advance. If you can find a community with a vacancy planned for the same month that you’ll be moving in, you can ask them to hold that place for you. The earlier you start, the easier it will be for you to get a foothold.

Know Your Dream Features

Make a list of everything you want in an apartment. Start with essentials like bedrooms, specific appliances, and access to your school or job. Continue the list with features that you’d appreciate like a balcony, an on-site gym, or a community swimming pool.

Most apartment communities will try to sell you on the benefits of certain features. Listen to their pitch, but keep the features you actually want in mind. It’s only your dream apartment if it has the amenities you’ve been dreaming of. Where the apartment is located helps define your home just as much as what is on the inside.

Check for Listings in Multiple Places

Don’t just use a single source for your apartment search. Check multiple apartment rental listing websites; if you make an account, you can usually receive alerts about new listings that match your search results.

You can also find apartment rental listings in magazines or local newspapers. Don’t be afraid to contact communities directly; some communities don’t update their listings every time a unit becomes available. Friends and family can be a great resource, if they live in the area you are planning to move to.

Search Near Your Favorite Locations

Location is one of the most important features of an apartment. If you choose an apartment near your work or school, you will save a significant amount on transportation costs.

If you can’t find a place near your school, look for a complex that is near a major highway or public transit station. Make sure that you have access to a grocery store and any other services that you use on a frequent basis.

Look for apartments near your favorite activities. If you love bowling, find an area that has a local bowling alley. Your location will shape your lifestyle; choose a place to live that provides access to your favorite things.

An apartment search is always a lengthy process. Keep track of your favorite locations, and call them every month to see if they have units available. Check multiple listings regularly. If you start early and remain persistent, you’ll find the perfect place for the next stage of your life.