Searching for new apartments is a thrill! It’s exciting to think about how you might decorate your new home, or what kind of upgrades you’ll have to look forward to. Then, there’s the challenge of choosing a new neighbourhood, and the fun that comes with exploring the restaurants, shopping and other amenities nearby.
But apartment hunting can also feel a bit daunting. There is a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) involved.
All of a sudden, you find yourself asking yourself questions like.. How will I know if I’ve found the right place? How do I choose the best apartment? Should I live in Centretown or the Glebe? Do I really need that fitness centre?
Know that rental FOMO is completely normal, and choosing the right apartment is actually quite simple if you can focus on your priorities and needs.
Once you’ve been to a few viewings, you should have a better idea of what you need and what you are ultimately looking for. But if you’re torn between two, or even three different apartments, you’ll want to read these tips for narrowing it down and choosing an apartment you will love.
1. First things first. What are the non-negotiables?
Ideally you want to do this before you even go to viewings. You should make three lists:
- Your must-haves
- Your nice-to-haves
- Your deal breakers
This will save you so much time and make it easier to make a decision. Your must-haves might include two bedrooms and a parking spot. Maybe your nice-to-haves include en-suite laundry or a dishwasher. These really depend on you and your specific set of needs!
You should also have a list of deal breakers. Your deal breakers are things you absolutely don’t want. If an apartment has these, you’re not interested, end of story.
Now that you have this list, you know exactly what to look for and you can easily compare which apartments tick off the most items from your list. But don’t be afraid to keep an open mind!
2. What amenities are important to you?
One of the great things about rentals is that many buildings give their tenants access to unique amenities like fitness centres and pools. You’ll also want to consider the “practical” amenities, like parking or laundry facilities. Ask yourself which of these are most important to you and why. Also, ask yourself how often you will actually use them. Be honest!
3. What are the utility costs? Is everything within budget?
It’s a good idea to ask the landlord or property manager what the average utility bill is. This will help you to prepare your budget and make sure that the rental is an affordable place for you to live. When comparing two apartments, don’t just consider the amount of rent, but consider the total cost including utilities so that there are no surprises. Be realistic about what you can comfortably afford.
4. What is your daily routine like?
Since you’re going to be living in your new apartment and spending time there every day, you’ll want to consider what a regular day looks like for you. What is your daily routine, and which apartment is better suited to that routine? Consider things like the flow of the space and which rooms you typically find yourself spending the most time in.
5. Which is closer to your work?
Your daily commute has a big impact on your overall well-being. If you are spending 30 minutes driving to and from work every day, that’s five full hours a week in your car! So, when choosing between apartments, be sure to compare the commute times. If you take public transportation, check which bus routes are nearby, how often they service the area, and the average commute time for public transit.
6. Which is closer to amenities like entertainment, shopping and schools?
Again, it’s important to consider a convenient location. Depending on your lifestyle you may need easy access to different types of amenities. How close is each apartment to grocery stores? Schools? Shopping? Hospitals? Think about the types of services you use the most and do a quick directions search on Google Maps to find out what is close to you.
At the end of the day, choosing an apartment comes down to your priorities and needs. One person might prioritize a luxury kitchen while another might prioritize a quick drive to work. Everyone is different, and you know best! Don’t be afraid to follow your gut and choose the apartment that feels right for you.