The Internet is the best thing to happen to apartment hunting in history. Most apartment buildings advertise the fact that they have vacancies, either through city-wide or nationwide apartment hunting sites or through your local newspaper. This allows you to really organize and plan out your day of apartment hunting. Use sites like Maps.Google.Com to plan a route that will save you the most time on your hunt. You also want to consider calling ahead to see when you can come by as some buildings only show empty apartments for a few hours per day.
Be sure you don’t get carried away when apartment hunting. We all want to live in the nicest place possible, but make an effort to stick to your guns when it comes to how much you can afford for rent. A good way to keep your expenses under control is to always apartment hunt with another person. They can point out issues that you may be glossing over.
Always get business cards from every building you visit. It can be impossible to keep all of the places straight once you’ve seen 10 places in a single day. Try to take written notes once you’ve seen an apartment, as well. By the end of the day, you may only remember that nice place that had a dishwasher and in-suite laundry, while forgetting the fact that it was next to the railroad tracks or in the wrong part of town. Perhaps the biggest mistake apartment hunters make is that they get tunnel vision and only focus on the positives of a place while forgetting the bad things. You really need to stay as impartial as humanly possible if you are going to end up with a new home that you love.
Finally, make a note of the tone of the landlord. This is the person you are going to be interacting with on a weekly or at least monthly basis for the next year, or longer. If he or she seems surly, you may want to think twice about signing on the dotted line.