Apartment adventures: your 7-step guide to apartment hunting

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Photo: Grant Lemons / Unsplash

Whether you’re looking at cute little Sydney studios for rent or luxury Mermaid Beach apartments for sale, the hunt for a new pad can be a whole lot of fun. Each viewing opens up a new potential life path you could take. While this is undeniably exciting, it can also feel like a lot of pressure. 

What if you make the wrong choice? What if you overlook a critical feature and end up with nightmare neighbours, hidden mould, or any number of other issues? 

To take the pressure off and make your apartment-hunting adventure a bit easier, we’ve put together a comprehensive 7-step guide for navigating this journey. Read on to get a strategy in place and set your mind at ease. 

1. Make a list of your apartment priorities

Before you start scouring listings, sit down and make a list of your apartment priorities. What are the non-negotiables? Consider factors like location, budget, size, and amenities. Having a clear understanding of what you’re looking for will help you narrow down your options and save you time in the long run.

2. Set a realistic range for your budget

Determine your budget before you start your search. Be sure to factor in not just rent or mortgage expenses but also utilities, parking fees, body corporate fees, and any other associated costs. This will give you a clear understanding of your financial limitations, ensuring you don’t end up in an apartment that strains your finances.

3. Research neighbourhoods in your search area

Research different neighbourhoods to find a few that suit your lifestyle. Consider factors such as proximity to work, schools, public transportation, and the availability of supermarkets, restaurants, and recreational facilities. Explore the areas to get a feel for each neighbourhood’s safety and overall vibe.

4. Search with the above factors in mind

Now that you know your priorities, budget, and preferred neighbourhoods, it’s time to begin your search. Use resources like real estate websites, apps, local classifieds, and social media groups to find available listings. Don’t forget to ask friends and family for recommendations – word-of-mouth is often the best way to find hidden gems.

5. Inspect your shortlisted apartments 

Schedule appointments with landlords or property managers to tour the apartments you love. During these visits, inspect the property thoroughly, paying attention to details like the condition of appliances, fixtures, and the general upkeep of the building. 

Don’t just rely on your eyes. Does it smell mouldy, musty, or otherwise off? Can you hear noise pollution that might bother you down the track? What’s the ambient temperature like? Engage all your senses in the apartment-hunting process (apart from taste, of course – that might draw some confused stares from the property manager). 

6. Question the property manager like a pro

Prepare a list of questions to ask the landlord or property manager. Important questions to consider include:

  • What’s included in the rent, and what additional costs should I expect?
  • Are there any restrictions on pets?
  • What’s the process for repairs and maintenance?
  • Are there security measures in place?
  • What’s the policy on renewing the lease?

7. Look before you leap into a lease

Before making a final decision, check references and contact current or former tenants to get insights into their experiences. This can provide valuable information about the property and landlord. Once you’re ready to commit, review the lease agreement thoroughly. Ensure you understand all terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

Whether you’re a first-time renter or a seasoned pro, apartment hunting can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Use this simple 7-step guide to approach the process with confidence and organisation. Happy hunting!