A Successful Guide For Finding Apartments Owning a home isn't for everyone, particularly those who are just starting out in their careers. Of course, while shopping for apartments may not be as involved and complicated as looking for a house, there are still some important things to consider if you want to find success. By taking your time, determining what you can afford, and knowing what you need, you can get a place you will love. Here is a guide to finding a great place to live. Design Your Budget Don't go into your search for apartments without knowing how much you can spend. It's tempting to go about this backwards. You see what the average place is going for and then you try to shoehorn it into your income. Make a few cuts here, work some overtime there, no problem! This is bad and could be a one way ticket to an eviction in your future. Make sure you know how much you can afford, conservatively. Include utilities and your deposit (which may include first and last month's rent up front). The Neighborhood Nice apartments in shady areas of town are to be avoided when possible. You'll be far better off with a so-so complex in a really nice area of town. Of course, the most important consideration will be your immediate neighbors. Feel free to judge, since this is who you'll be living with for the next year or so, at least. Take a drive around and make some observations. Do the people seem friendly? Trashy? Could you easily envision a drug deal going down in the parking lot? Is this a place you would be proud to bring your friends? Think about these things carefully before you commit to moving in. Features One way to avoid being dazzled by things that really don't mean that much (a fold-out ironing board for someone who has never ironed a stitch of clothing, for instance) is to make a list of some of the features that are essential. These could include a liberal pet policy, a strict noise clause, or a pool. Anything you can think of that you would like to ideally see in the apartments you look at should be added to the list. At the same time, however, remember to keep an open mind. Unless you live in a metropolitan area, your choices are going to be limited. Don't make an inflexible feature list so long that you would have to build your own complex to meet all of your demands.