I recently had the chance to help out a friend who was looking for a new apartment in Washington DC. As we learned in a our relocation project, finding a new place to live can be really challenging, and scary–especially in a big city. Breaking the process down into smaller chunks and taking the time to do the reasearch can do a lot to take the scare factor out of the home hunt. Here are some tips that can help with your search.
- Spend some time checking out the local market. Choosing a home is a big decision, but before you do that be sure to lay a solid foundation. When you research the area you are going to want to find out about where the cool places are to live, what are the less desirable neighborhoods, and what the housing looks like in those neighborhoods.
- Set a budget and stick to it. Once you have established a plan it is important to trust yourself. Find a place to live that meets the qualifications that you are looking for and your budget.
- If you find a place you like- Act Fast! in a competitive city market like Washington DC you likely won’t get a second chance, so act fast (this is why it pays to have done your homework beforehand).
- You can use the web to scope out the neighborhoods you are considering. spotcrime.com graphically maps out recent neighborhood crime incidents on a map. Check out how convenient your neighborhood is with a walkability score from walkscore.com
- You can also check out the homes you are choosing. It is a good idea to do a quick web search of the apartment home as well as check out apartmentratings.com. Sometimes ratings and reviews sites can be a little bit skewed by people who have either really negative or really positive experiences, but I think that they can still help when making a choice between two otherwise comparable properties.