How to Find an Apartment When Moving to a City


From the neighborhood cafes to the bars and hangout spots, there is a price to pay for the luxury of living in the city setting. If you’re serious about finding a city apartment, be prepared to pay more in rent for the perks of walkable restaurants and lively nightlife.

Here is how to find an apartment when moving to a city.

1. Look Into Sublets

To help you adjust to moving to a new city, try to get into a city apartment right away by looking for sublets. Often, these are situations where people need to leave their lease early and need someone to fill in the gap of a few months until it is time to renew.

Once you’re in, you might get to stay without a formal review. Subletting is great for new renters because it provides a fast way to get into a place without going through extended interviews and submitting to the best credit check for landlords. You can sort of get ahead of the curve and pick up where the other tenants left off.

2. Consider the Commute

If you are moving to a city, you must factor in how close this area is to your workplace. Proximity to work is only half the battle, though. You’ll want to determine what traffic is like so that you can see if driving to and from work each day is manageable.

Being held up in traffic is stressful and could potentially put your job at risk if being late becomes a frequent issue. Consider if carpooling or leaving for work earlier prevents tardiness—or if you’re better off living elsewhere.

Take some practice drives at different times, to and from work, and decide if this commute is reasonable given the traffic.

Factor in other values that matter to you, like health and wellbeing. Some research suggests that moving to a city setting actually improves health and lifespan.

3. Factor In Location

If you are moving to a city, that does not mean that your apartment has to be smack dab in the middle of the center square. You could, theoretically, take a break from the city life and look for apartments just outside of town if they happen to be more affordable.

You might even be able to get a bigger place for less money if you’re willing to expand your horizons. Additionally, if you choose to be in the city directly, consider the possibility of getting roommates to keep costs down.

4. Look for Rentals Strategically

Since you’re moving to a city setting, there is likely less open availability for apartment units. To find a nice place, look during the off-season or when demand for units is low.

You might be able to snag an apartment before the rush picks up again. Most people leave after a year is up, so look into winter rentals as a place to start.

5. Have Financial Incentive

If you want to beat out the competition, have your money squared away. Most landlords will require the first and last month’s rent plus a security deposit to get into a place. If you can offer to pay the first three months of rent, you might be given priority.

The Bottom Line

Finding apartments in city settings can be difficult, but it is not impossible with a few strategic tricks up your sleeve. Look for rentals during the off-season, provide financial incentives, and search for subletting situations to make the move-in process more convenient. Be sure that the location and commute are manageable, and you’re ready for a new apartment!

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