Searching for a new apartment can be exciting, discouraging, challenging and thrilling - not necessarily in that order. Before you begin your hunt for apartments in the Albany area, keep the following tips in mind:
Decide on a Budget
While it's fun to dream, only look at apartments that are within the budget you've decided on. If you can only afford $900 a month, and you look at a $1,400 apartment - guess what? When you look at an apartment you can truly afford, it's never going to live up to that really nice and really out-of-your-budget apartment that had the beautiful kitchen and the fitness center.
Make a Plan...
Start by making a list of what you need and what you want in an apartment.
You'll obviously know WHY you are moving -- you need more room or you changed jobs and would like to be closer to work, etc. But also think about your personality and the little extras you would really welcome in a new apartment.
Do you love plants? An apartment that is sunny and has windows facing south might give you an energy boost every day even if it doesn't have that large walk-in closet you were hoping for.
Do you relish quiet evenings and lazy Sunday mornings? Suddenly that walk-up on the top floor at the end of a residential street might seem like a great find...even if it boasts harvest gold appliances from the 70s.
Writing down and really thinking about what you truly need in a place to call it home, will help you define your priorities and avoid the impulse to rent an apartment for bells and whistles that aren't really your bells and whistles.
Make a Two-Column List
One column is must-have's and the other is for extras that would be nice to have in your next apartment, but wouldn't irritate you for an entire year if you didn't have them.
DO put some of your personality into that 'must have' column. If you are an introvert and take an Albany apartment in a large complex with lots of friendly (and loud) social events that no one, including the manager, seems to mind - except you - you might want to run screaming in a very short time.
Likewise, if you take a small duplex at the 'perfect price', but you are right next to lots of children, and you NEVER want children, ever... well, you will likely be poring over the lease for a way out before your one year is up - or even losing your deposit to get out early.
...And Stick To It
With your budget established and your must-haves close at hand, look through the apartments for rent in Albany and start calling, writing and scheduling appointments.
Keep that list in front of you whenever you call about an apartment, and bring it with you when you tour an apartment. This is crucial! Property reps and real estate managers have those positions for a reason -- they are really good at sales. When you feel yourself starting to think that maybe you could make do, look at that must have column and make sure you aren't giving up something you decided was crucial, when you weren't listening.
Ask lots of questions! The landlord or manager is trying to find the right 'fit' too. Find out what you do if something breaks, if you have a complaint about noise, if you want to decorate.
Be a detective -- look around you! Ask to see the yards - the garages - the storage areas. Look for what makes you comfortable and not.
If you are looking at a two-family, duplex or apartment community - don't be shy! Knock on the door and chat with the people next door for a few minutes. You are going to be sharing communal indoor and outdoor areas for a year.
Now, drive or walk down the road to the nearest coffee shop, grocery store, local restaurant or pub. Go in, browse around, have a drink... do you feel comfortable?
Sign the Dotted Line
You've found the perfect place! Read through and thoroughly understand your lease before signing. You may discover unexpected expenses, such as a requirement for renter's insurance, that will need to be budgeted for. Once the lease is signed, you can plan your move-in date and schedule the movers -- or your family and friends!