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Find an Apartment

If you're ready to find an apartment, ask yourself a few key questions? How important is location? How can you really know a neighborhood is safe? Why should you want a background check? Okay. . .ready to start? But before you look through the classified ads, take a look at a city map of the town you'll be living in. Got it? Okay, now take a quick glance. Do you know which areas are high-crime and which are low-crime neighborhoods? If you've lived in this city a few years, then reading the local newspaper may have tipped you off to bad areas. But if you're new to the town where you're apartment hunting, give the local police a quick phone call. Ask them to identify the high-crime areas of the city, and then cross those neighborhoods off your map. Remember,even the best apartment is a loser if it's in a dangerous part of town.

Most people begin their apartment search with the newspaper classified ads. But there's an obvious problem with this. . .thousands of people will have the same newspaper you're browsing through. That means the best apartment deals may be quickly snatched up. So instead of going straight to a newspaper classified, look in the yellow pages for the number of "property management companies." This way you'll be going straight to the source, and may learn about great apartment values even before they're announced in a newspaper classified. Also check with real estate companies. . .they can usually steer you toward some great deals.

More Advice to Find an Apartment

Ready for some more advice to find an apartment? Okay, let's say you've found a potentially good apartment complex. But if the landlord doesn't ask for a background or credit check, that should be a deal-breaker. After all, do you really want to live in a place that rents to anyone with no questions asked? It also pays for you to conduct an informal background check on your landlord-to-be. Ask some of the current residents if they're happy with the apartment complex. Is the staff friendly and professional? Are problems fixed quickly? Also find out if the complex has any loud or disruptive tenants. Asking a few questions now can save you lots of problems down the road!

If everything seems in order, then you're ready to sign the contract and move in. But one last thing. . .take a photo of each room in your apartment before you move your furniture in. This way you have a record of the apartment's condition at the beginning of your rental period to protect yourself against false damage claims. To verify the date of the photographs, take then with a digital camera that prints the date on each photograph. Chances are you'll never need these pictures, but it's always safer to know you have them.

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