Finding an apartment in a new town is challenging under the best circumstances possible, and without limitless time or resources it can seem almost impossible. Knowing where to start and what to focus on while you're looking at options will help to ensure you're not only getting the best price, but also the most for your money.

Learning the Market

Start your search using real estate and property management websites in order to identify a median rental price for the size of apartment you're looking for. Many sites offer filter options that allow you to only look at units that meet or exceed your square footage, bedroom, and bathroom needs. When setting your expectations, start this process six months or more out from your move date, so you can have time to adjust your plans accordingly.

If your budget is tight, you can also start your search with a price point in mind, and use the same resources to see just what you can get for your money. This will give you an idea of just what you can get for the money you can afford to spend each month. If your budget is limited, this can be less than ideal if there are things you absolutely can't do without, such as separate rooms for multiple children, which is why it's so important to get an early start on this process, so you can effectively plan.

Prioritizing Amenities

Often, the more you pay for an apartment the more you should be able to expect from it, both inside the unit and on the grounds of a larger complex. Resident only amenities can really help to increase the value of a unit, such as exercise rooms, private theatres, swimming pools, and publicly accessible entertaining venues. Use caution when considering these though, and make sure you get a look at these additional facilities before you count them as selling points.

Not every public amenity will feature in your decision making, and taking a moment to rate the importance of having access to them will help simplify the process. This is also the point at which you should start looking at what's really included in the monthly rental price too. In order to budget effectively, you need to know if you'll be on the hook for utilities, internet access, television service, or garbage pick-up, in addition to your rent each month, before you even start worrying about swimming pools and gyms.

It's easy to get fooled by a lot of glossy photos, so keep your focus on prices, quality, and the apartment itself. If you can be secure in the knowledge that the lease you're signing is securing a clean and safe apartment to rent you can then start considering the value added by other things.