Q & A: Virginia Miner, senior area manager of Destination Services for ApartmentSearch
Whether you are moving to a new area because you graduated, are taking a new job, are newly retired, or for any other reason, there is so much to learn about your new destination. In the midst of all that is involved with moving to a new area, finding the best apartment for you can often seem overwhelming. Here, Virginia Miner, senior area manager of Destination Services for ApartmentSearch, explains how to find the right apartment for you.
ApartmentSearch: For those seeking a new apartment, what is the first thing they should do?
Miner: Start by asking yourself questions. Make a list of your absolute must-haves – your “needs” – and make a list of your “wants”. Focus on your needs first, and you will end up finding your wants. Know your budget and what you are comfortable with. Think about what you previously paid and the type of lifestyle you received for that money. Be aware that, when you are moving to a new city, what you received for the money won’t necessarily be the same. That varies by the housing market conditions in each city. Also, many times people are looking for a certain quality level and will go slightly above their budget to get it. For example, maybe you must have a fitness center on property or you are used to living in a more modern apartment community. Often, the quality of life you will experience at your new home is much more important than saving a few dollars.
ApartmentSearch: What is the best way for those seeking a new apartment to find the right fit for their lifestyle and family?
Miner: Start with online research on the communities in the area to get to know the housing market, the surrounding neighborhoods and area demographics. There are valuable online tools such as NeighborhoodScout.com, which tells you about the area and the type of people who live there, and Walkscore.com, which helps you find restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses in the neighborhood you are considering.
Local county and town police web sites will help show crime reports, which is helpful when you are working with a realtor who cannot discuss crime statistics. Whitefence.com can help you compare utility costs from your current location to your new location and show you which providers are in the area. The web sites of local visitor bureaus and the Chambers of Commerce will also help you find out more about your potential new neighborhood. I also recommend SchoolChoices.org, so you can research local schools and the type of education offered there. SchoolChoices.org even tells you which schools offer a good curriculum for English as a second language.
ApartmentSearch: What about apartment review sites? Can they help me select my new apartment or neighborhood?
Miner: One should not solely base their rental decision on online reviews. These are opinions and they skew the data of the overall community. We recommend viewing the community in-person and speaking with current residents that you pass who are enjoying the on-site amenities.
ApartmentSearch: What are some additional steps you would recommend for people seeking an apartment in a new city?
Miner: Take your time reviewing the apartments in your area and look through the photos to see if it is the type of housing you are looking for. Not only will the inside photos give you a sense of the age of the apartment, but also the style of the fixtures. Outside photos will help you determine if it’s an urban or suburban area and the type of building such as garden, mid-rise or high-rise. Yelp.com is a great place to then see reviews of the things close to this apartment that you might be interested in.
ApartmentSearch: How can ApartmentSearch help with a person’s relocation?
Miner: The features of ApartmentSearch.com are yet another great tool to help you when seeking your next apartment. Under the “Moving” tab on ApartmentSearch.com, we provide a valuable moving checklist, city moving guides, information on furniture rental at your new location, and links to some of the helpful sites I mentioned such as Whitefence.com. For employees being transferred within a company, ApartmentSearch also offers full-service relocation, primarily utilized by large corporations who move employees frequently. Also, our comprehensive listing enables you to select from the apartments that best meet your criteria (budget, location, amenities, etc.).
Plus, when you let your new apartment community know that you found them via ApartmentSearch.com, we will give you up to $200 in rewards to help with your relocation or as a donation to charity. Visit us today and let us take the hassle out of finding your next great apartment home.