Rating 4.6

Why Apartment Searching Becomes a Frustrating Process

When you are looking for a rental apartment in a popular housing market, the process can be complicated, frustrating, and at times, seem hopeless. If you are moving to St. Louis or another popular metro in the U.S., we have a few tips to help keep you sane in the face of apartment search struggles. With a little luck, you’ll be mentally prepared for setbacks or problems, and also know how to overcome these issues and ultimately find the rental property you are searching for.

Prove your stability.

Bring pay stubs, proof of renters’ insurance, and your credit report. Approach financially secure parents or relatives about co-signing your apartment; you’ll need them if you’re young, don’t have adequate savings, or have a salary that’s too low when compared to the rent. Real estate is a business and like any business, it favors those in strong financial positions. In cities with 97% to 98% of apartments filled, it’s a landlord’s market and prospective tenants will have to work hard to stand out. In any market, it is good to show your financial stability and it is great training to gather these documents for when you eventually apply for a mortgage.

Listings go quickly.

An apartment you love, that is perfect for you, just hit the market. You call to schedule and visit it—and it’s already been taken by another tenant. What?! An apartment open today gets filled tomorrow … by someone else. When you are searching for a place, be flexible with your schedule and see available units when they come to your attention. Sign up for listing alerts so that you are notified when properties matching your criteria become available.

It is expensive.

The nature of rentals requires more money up front to protect the investment of the landlord or of the property management. It is quite common for new tenants to provide first month, last month, and a deposit, as well as additional fees such as pet fees, application fees, parking decal fees and more.

It is also a time expense. Clearly, finding an apartment in a hot market may take more effort than just a few emails or phone calls. Experts, in fact, recommend starting an apartment search at least 90 days before your ideal move-in. When checking out an apartment, ask if there are comparable apartments available in the same building or neighborhood.

You won’t get everything you want.

According to Trulia, St. Louis is an area with rising rental rates and a high demand of prospective tenants. Because of this, pricing in your budget might not guarantee the property that you are seeking. Research your city and neighborhood online for baseline rents. Be flexible about the amenities you want, and be honest about the amenities you need. Do you really need a building with a gym and rooftop pool, when the cost of both are surely going to be factored into your rent? On the other hand, don’t overlook unacceptable, unsafe, or illegal conditions. You likely won’t find a place that has everything you are needing, so it is important to know that from the beginning. Additionally, many buildings have pet restrictions, so it will take a little extra work to find a place that is welcoming to your pet.