Finding an Apartment
How do you find out what's available? If you're looking in your own town, you probably know about some of the apartment complexes in your area. It's more difficult if you're moving to a new city, especially if you don't have the luxury of being able to go there to find housing before you move. A number of methods can make it easier.
Word of Mouth
If you know people in the neighborhood you're considering, ask them for recommendations. Word of mouth is invaluable. You'll learn important information that might not be readily apparent when you walk through the building, such as noise levels, the safety of the neighborhood, and whether management is good about maintenance and repairs.
The local newspapers in most towns and cities advertise apartments for rent. You might even grab independent newspapers that you find in coffee shops and pizza joints for a wider variety of inexpensive places. On the Internet, try
Using a Real-Estate Agent
Call a few Realtors located in the Yellow Pages and ask if they deal with apartments. The benefit of using a real-estate agent is that they're familiar with where the apartment complexes are and with the neighborhoods they're in. Using a Realtor is a good idea if you're moving to a city that's unfamiliar to you. Another way to find Realtors with rentals is the Internet. Go to a good search engine and type in “real-estate agents” or “Realtors” and the name of the city and state. It may not be obvious from the description whether the Realtor does rentals, but a quick visit to the Web site will tell you. While you're searching, keep an eye out for real-estate agents who offer relocation packages with information about the city you're going to be living in. This could be helpful once you move.
Apartment finders or locators are companies that specialize in knowing all the apartment complexes in a given area. They work with apartment property managers to keep up-to-date on apartment availability, and save you the time and hassle of making phone calls to each individual complex to get information. Try to avoid using an apartment-finder service that costs money. Some of them charge an entire month's rent. There are many free apartment- and roommate-finder services on the Internet, especially for larger cities, so you shouldn't have to pay for this service unless there's a severe rental shortage.
Two of the larger online apartment-finder services are Apartments.com (
The better services will have a real-estate agent contact you when you fill out an online form indicating your housing requirements. Some will even have your utilities hooked up for you without charge once you find an apartment you want.