How to Choose an Apartment in 2021

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Updated July 25, 2021
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Now is the perfect time to start searching for your new apartment since the rental market is expected to reach over 2 trillion in market cap over the next few years. Many property managers and landlords are currently offering leasing deals to get more renters 

However, just because the market is about to flourish doesn’t mean you should throw some money down on the first apartment you see. Instead, take your time to find the perfect place just for you. To help, we’ve compiled a guide for how to choose an apartment in 2021.

apartment pool
Upscale Indoor swimming pool with swim lanes and 2 level gym in condominium complex.

Perfect Apartment Must-Haves

Yes, some apartments look glamorous, but do they offer everything you need for a price you can afford? Take a look below at some essential must-haves you should consider during your hunt. 

Location

Location is a crucial aspect of searching for the right apartment. Many renters often compromise on other apartment features if it means they’re steps from desirable amenities, including schools, grocery stores, or restaurants. 

However, you don’t have to settle for a tiny 300 square-foot apartment in the heart of downtown. Instead, consider a new place that’s within walking distance of amenities that you want to frequent. Removing yourself from a densely populated and desirable location will save you money and space but still keep you close enough to not feel so removed.   

apartment amenities dishwasher
Modern kitchen interior with dishwasher

Amenities

When apartment hunting, you’ll want to ensure the place includes all the necessities you need. Some may not be as relevant to you as others but still make an impact on your decision. 

For example, not having a washer and dryer directly in your room may not matter to you, but then you’ll have to factor in finding a laundromat nearby, laundry costs, or if the building houses its laundry facility. 

Ideally, you’ll want to create a checklist of important items you’d like your place to have. Some amenities may include:

 

  • Air conditioning
  • Dishwasher
  • In-unit washer and dryer or washer and dryer hookups
  • Laundry facilities
  • Parking
  • Pet friendly
  • Pool
  • Elevator
  • Doorman or additional security measures
  • Cable
  • Wifi
  • Fitness center
  • Wheelchair access

Potential Apartment Deal-Breakers

Keep an eye out for these deal-breakers when looking at apartment options. While you can compromise on some things, you might want to avoid the following red flags.

Cleanliness

If you step foot into an apartment building and notice thick dust, cracks and crevices, stains, and crumbs, that likely shows the landlord or maintenance team hasn’t cleaned it in quite some time. Who knows what the units themselves might look like. Even if the space has a gorgeous view and a great rent deal, an unkempt apartment can signify a cheap apartment. 

Cleanliness or lack thereof is a clear distinction that the property manager, landlord, or maintenance service doesn’t take care of the property. It’s a tell-tale sign that you shouldn’t expect to have maintenance requests met during your lease. 

Safety

Check out statistics about the apartment’s neighborhood before scheduling a tour. You’ll want to pay particular attention to crime rates and noise levels. If the neighborhood ranks poorly in the associated categories, it’s probably not the safest neighborhood, and you should consider other locations with more secure living conditions. 

Broken Appliances

If the apartment comes with much-needed appliances, such as dishwashers, dryers, and washers, but they don’t work, it might be a sign of neglect – much like a dirty apartment. It might also allude to a continual problem you’ll face during your lease. Always test the appliances, if you can, during your apartment viewing.

Utilities Not Included

If the utilities aren’t included with the apartment, you can expect the base listed rent to increase. You’ll have to consider how paying extra for utilities will affect your monthly budget and whether or not you’ll be able to afford it. Having utilities included gives you a set price each month, offering a more stable, affordable rent. 

how to choose an apartment layout

Apartment Layouts and Size Options

Choosing a floor plan and ideal size depends on whether or not you have roommates, how much space you want, and what you can afford. Floor plans vary from the studio and single bedrooms to multiple bedrooms and levels. 

Studio

Studios are a single, open floor plan concept. There is no distinct, secluded bedroom area, meaning you will have to share your bedroom with your living space and kitchen. This floor plan is ideal if you want a cheaper apartment and live on your own. However, it may not provide the ample space that a single bedroom would. 

Average Size: 588 square-feet

Single Bedroom

Single bedrooms provide more space than a studio but tend to cost more. If you live on your own, you’ll want your own space, but the price of a single bedroom may cause you to turn toward the cheaper studio option. 

Average Size: 840 square-feet

2+ Bedroom

Floor plans with two or more bedrooms will be the most expensive and provide the most space. However, if you plan to room with another person or people, the rent will cost significantly less than a single bedroom because the cost splits between you and the others. 

Average Size: 1,200 square-feet

Apartment Styles

Apartments come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. Here are some common styles you’ll find when searching for a new apartment. 

Lofts

The loft-style apartment typically features an open concept floor plan and a separate level for your sleeping area. These apartments also tend to lean toward an industrial look, complete with exposed ceilings, large windows, and minimal interior walls. 

With this apartment, the bedroom is typically on its own level, accessible via a staircase. It usually doesn’t have a door, and some use a railing instead of a wall.

Historic

Historic apartments have rich character and design features that more modern places don’t have, including crown molding, original wood floors, unique tiles, and more irreplaceable characteristics. You’ll often find these apartments in converted historical landmarks such as old factories, hotels, mansions, and more. 

Garden

Garden apartments reside on a complex’s base floor, providing access to either a garden or a small backyard space. This apartment type is ideal for renters with pets who want some outdoor space for their furry friends.

Other apartment styles you might come across include:

 

  • Walk-up
  • Contemporary
  • Alcove
  • Transitional
  • Co-op
  • Convertible

How to Choose an Apartment Tips and Tricks

No matter when, where, or how you start your apartment search, consider these helpful tips and tricks to find your new apartment in 2021:

 

  • Rent should make up no more than 30% of your monthly income. 
  • Ask about community guidelines.
  • Research apartments and neighborhoods before touring units.
  • Create a budget to find an apartment you know you can afford.
  • List your must-haves for your ideal place.

Be sure to check out the available apartments at Bigos, and schedule an in-person or virtual appointment!

Check out our Properties     
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