Let’s face it: Moving is a pain. While the promise of a new and improved home is undoubtedly exciting, having to pack up all your stuff, haul it across town (or farther), and organize it in a different space is time-consuming and labor intensive—and we all have things we’d rather be doing.
Moving is also expensive. Aside from the out-of-pocket expenses of application fees and a security deposit, the cost of packing materials, time off work, transportation for all your possessions, and any paid assistance you might need can really add up; especially if you're moving year after year.
As a renter, you may have changed apartments several times. Maybe you wanted to be closer to work, to get into a neighborhood you liked better, to have access to more amenities, or to reduce your living expenses. Whatever the reason, if it’s time for your next move, you can increase the odds that you’ll find a home that fits you for many years into the future by thoroughly researching your options before signing a lease.
When researching your next move, be sure to carefully consider these factors:
The location of your apartment community affects you in a number of different ways. It determines your commute times, your community culture, your kids’ schools, what arts, recreation, and entertainment opportunities are easily accessible, and many other details of your life. Research each neighborhood you’re looking at for your next move. Spend time in the ones you’re seriously considering so you get to know the differences in culture and the distinctive things that each area has to offer. Don’t forget to look into future plans for the neighborhood, too—especially if there is one or more empty lots nearby. The more a location feels like home and provides the things that are important to you, the longer you’re likely to be happy there.
The Community Itself
More specifically, take a close look at the individual apartment communities you’re thinking about. Even in similar neighborhoods, the differences between communities can be significant:
- Who lives there? Is the make-up a lot of families with young kids, busy professionals, college students, retirees, or a vibrant mix of people from different generations and backgrounds?
- What amenities are available? If you want the freedom to entertain without needing a large apartment, then community rooms, clubhouses, game rooms, pools, or other common areas are definite assets to look for. If you’re spending money each month on a gym membership (or have been meaning to sign up for one), then an on-site fitness center could be a great selling point. Choose a community with amenities that are valuable to you.
- What’s the property manager’s reputation? Are they known for maintaining the property well, responding promptly to issues that arise, and treating tenants fairly and respectfully? Ask around and look online, such as on the Better Business Bureau website, for insight into their practices.
- Are pets allowed? If you don’t currently own a pet, think about whether you’re likely to want to adopt one in the future or even just live in a building with animals. The benefits of living in a pet-friendly apartment can extend beyond pet owners themselves.
If you’re thinking of stepping up to a more expensive apartment, think carefully about your ability to afford the rent payments over the long term. If you just got a new, higher-paying job, for example, you may want to take some time to settle in and make sure it’s a good fit and a stable position before making a move.
On the other hand, it’s also important to make sure you’re not going to outgrow your new apartment too soon. Particularly if you plan to add people (or pets) to your home in the near future, think about how they will affect your need for space so you won’t need to move to accommodate them. For example, if you’re thinking about starting a family in the next few years, it might be more cost-effective to look at a two-bedroom apartment or townhome now rather than have to move again when you make those additions.
Hubbell Apartment Living serves tenants throughout the Des Moines metro with a wide variety of apartment and townhome communities to meet the needs of renters at every stage of life. Browse our properties here, or click the image below to access our free eBook full of tips for finding a community that’s right for you.