Narrowing Down the Choices
Finding a new home can be difficult, finding the perfect apartment can be even more difficult than you think. In order to find an apartment that you would be happy in for the long haul there are several things you should pay attention to. Make sure to create a wish-list before heading out to tour several properties, try to remain organized, and know what you want. If you are going to be living with another person whether it is family, a significant other, or a roommate, allow them to contribute to your wish-list, work as a team to find the apartment of your dreams. Even if you’ve searched for apartments before it may be time to re-think your strategy to find a place you’d enjoy for more than a couple months.
There are several things to pay attention to and do so you can avoid moving into a nightmare community; Sycamore Terrace suggests contemplating the following:
- Make a Wish-List
As mentioned earlier, a wish-list can do you good. Think about things you would like to have in your apartment/in the community you live in. If you can’t think of anything you’d like, think of things you wouldn’t like. There are so many apartment communities in Temecula that you’d be surprised at what they offer. If you want to move into a complex that offers front door trash pick-up make sure to ask the leasing office if that’s something they offer. It might be handy to have a list made up and every apartment you go to you can mark whether they offer a particular thing. Do you want to live in a crime free community? Did you want a garage? How about a smoking or non-smoking building? These are all things you should consider and ask when touring communities in Temecula, California.
- Identify a Lease Length
How long will you be staying in the apartment? Several apartment communities offer discounts if you decide to stay for a longer period of time. There are benefits to signing a longer lease, for one you lock in the current price for that length of time. Are you looking to make Temecula your permanent home? Are you looking to purchase a house in the time period you are living in an apartment? If so, a shorter term lease might be more beneficial. If the apartment is going to be a “transition” try not to sign a 15-month lease, 8 or 9 months might be the better option. Ask the office what lease terms they offer, all apartment communities differ. Some communities might offer month-to-month tenancy in which you can give a 30-day notice at any time; whereas other communities may not offer that at all. It may be more difficult to find a short term lease, but with so many apartments in Temecula you are bound to find at least one complex that could work for you. Call around before wasting energy on a tour if you’re looking to sign a lease that is shorter than 6 months.
It is also important to decide when you would like to move into an apartment. Try to give yourself anywhere from 45-60 days in advance to find a new place. In California tenants are required to give their landlords a 30-day notice to vacate. If you are currently in a rental situation make sure to give yourself a few days between places to move. When touring try to give the leasing consultant a time-frame versus the only day you’re available to move.
You must try to be somewhat flexible, therefore giving yourself time to secure a place before giving notice is beneficial.
- Define your Budget
Although this may be included in the wish-list, defining your budget is extremely important. An article on moneycrashers.com suggests, “… [your] monthly rent should not exceed 20% of your monthly income – 30% at the most.” This may not always be attainable, in Temecula it might be. Figure out what your gross monthly income is, if there is going to be more than one adult living in the apartment and contributing towards rent then combine your gross incomes. For example, if you make $4,200 a month then your rent should be about $1,250. A lot of apartment communities do have an income requirement, most of the time offices ask their applicants to make anywhere from 2-3 times the rent for the apartment they are interested in. If you wanted to use that as a more realistic benchmark then take another look at your gross income, if you made $4,200 a month then you could secure any size apartment here at Sycamore Terrace in Temecula and many other communities in the nearby Temecula area.
When looking at your budget don’t forget to factor in other things such as utilities (cable, gas/electric, water bills, etc.), distance to schools/work, distance to shopping, and appliances (included or not?). You may have found a 2 bedroom apartment that is renting for $1,000 but it’s out of the way and doubles your commute time. Or that gorgeous place on the hill for $1,050 with the garage (which is extra), the stainless steel fridge (which is extra), and the beautiful view (which is extra). Plenty of apartment communities choose to nickel-and-dime their residents. Make sure to check the price you were quoted and what is, and isn’t, included. There’s no use “saving” money on rent when you have to pay for everything else you need to live, your budget should include rent, utilities, and gas costs to get to school and work. Try to find an apartment in California that includes price and storage, and sits in a great location—very similar to Sycamore in Temecula.
- Location, Location, Location
Have you ever gone to visit a friend or family member and thought to yourself “Wow, they live way out here?” They may, or may not, have thought about the location of their home when searching. Whereas some people prefer to be out where no one can bother them, if you’re looking to move into an apartment this shouldn’t be the case. If you want to be in an area that is extremely quiet and off the beaten path, an apartment complex may not be the best choice. Take a look at where you work, if you are going to be living with other people take a look at where they work and go to school. Once this is plotted try to find something that is about equal distance from everything. If one person has to take the freeway to get where they need to go then a place near an on-ramp may be beneficial.
Sometimes this may get difficult, you may work in a neighborhood you wouldn’t want to live in, or if you’re moving in with other people you may work far from where they need to be every day. In most cases compromise is required to find the perfect location. You will have to judge whether you want to commute every day or live in place that isn’t ideal yet close to work. While looking at location you may also want to pay attention to the rent-trends in the surrounding areas. Many cities have spots where rent is much more expensive. There should be a general trend in rent prices but in a busy and well-populated city center the rent could jump drastically. You may want to consider your budget and wish-list while looking at location. Remember to be realistic!
Taking the Tour
Once you’ve narrowed down your options based on the above items it’s time to take a tour! When touring you should try to pay attention to the following to make sure you are going to choose the right place to live:
- First Impressions are Everything
An article on Forbes mentions that it only takes seven seconds to gather first impressions, people tend to “…[make] major decisions [in the] first seven seconds of meeting.” So use your first seven seconds wisely. When walking into a leasing office make note of how the place smells and looks. Have you been greeted? Are there people available immediately to assist you? Does the office look well organized? These are all things that can suggest the property is being run efficiently. Also pay attention to how the office staff looks. Do they have a professional demeanor? Do they look clean, fresh, and ready to help you? Pay attention to the “gut feelings” you get when first walking into a leasing office. If you are feeling uneasy about something out-of-place then bring it up! Voicing your concerns gives the staff an opportunity to address them.
Also remember that within those first seven seconds the office staff is creating a first impression of you, too! Make sure you try to exude confidence and be as succinct as possible when requesting a tour. It may be difficult and slightly awkward at first, but showing the office that you are there to talk business cuts out and unwanted confusion or silence. Most communities require a government issued I.D. to hold while touring, make sure you have one, or something similar, on you and ready to dole out when necessary. Let them know exactly what you’re looking for and when you are looking to move, ask if they have a model to show, if they do ask if you can take a tour of it. When on the tour pay attention to what the community looks like, take another seven seconds to build your impression of the complex. Is there trash on the ground? Where is the nearest dumpster? How does the sidewalk and parking lot look? What is the landscaping like? Does the parking look crowded? When entering the model take another seven seconds … How does it smell? Does it look clean and well-maintained? Again, if there is something you are concerned about, ask now! Take note of how fast and confidently your questions are answered as this may be indicative of how most things are handled. First impressions are everything; if you’re not satisfied with your first impression of the community then you may not be satisfied with living there!
- See the Whole Picture
If transportation is available, ask for a full tour of the property. Ask the leasing consultant to drive you by the locations of apartments that would be available for the time frame you are looking for. Take a look at the amenities and driveways into/out of the community and pay attention to parking. Make sure the locations of the available apartments are something you would like.
After your tour you could take another walk or drive around the complex, if you see any residents about you may want to stop to ask them a few questions to get the full picture. Some important things to touch on would be:
-What is security like here?
-How fast does maintenance respond to issues?
-Do you enjoy living here? How are the other residents?
-Have you ever had issues with the front office staff?
If you would like you can take this time to also build a rapport with some of the residents, after all, this could be your new home!
- After the Tour
After returning to the leasing office make sure the leasing consultant has your correct contact information, ask for a map of the community, and thank them for their time. If you have any other questions or things that are bugging you, ask them now! You may also want to grab an application and, if you’d like, a copy of the lease. It’s important to know your lease before you sign it! Ask any last minute questions at this time as well such as:
-When are the community quiet hours?
-What are the amenity hours?
-What is your pet policy?
-Do your apartments rent very fast?
-If I want to apply, what do I need to come back with?
-Do I pay a full month’s worth of rent when I move in? How do move-in costs work?
Most communities will follow up with you at least a week after your tour, if you haven’t heard from them in that time then you may want to give them a call if you are still interested. If a community has really caught your eye then you should act fast if they have apartments available to rent in your time frame.
Use the table below to take with you on your tours! You can make notes and jot down community information, that way you have all the necessary items to make an informed decision on your new apartment home.
Finding your perfect apartment can be hard work but in the end will be completely worth it if you find a home that you love. Sycamore Terrace Apartments in Temecula offers some beautifully remodeled 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in California. In addition to the lovely interiors of the updated apartments, Sycamore sits on 13.5 acres of lush greenery in the heart of Temecula, CA. With 2 pools and spas, a tennis court, sand volleyball court, and playground Sycamore can be the nicest place to call home. Put us on your list of communities to tour in Temecula and we’ll show you how finding a new home can be a piece of cake. Check us out at sycamoreterracetemecula.com and find us on Facebook!