High walkability, access to hiking trails, near a large body of water with an open, clean layout may be some of the things that make up a perfect apartment in Charleston, SC. However, we all have personal tastes when it comes to the perfect pad, and oftentimes, it can be hard to pin down exactly what we need in a space … not to mention how to find it.
Your monthly rent should remain below 20 percent of your monthly income.
Also be sure to factor in utility costs and determine if they’re included in the rent or if you have to pay an additional sum. Add in these costs to any additional living expenses such as groceries, gas and phone bills.
Be sure to also keep in mind security deposit costs and down payments, as these can vary and might make or break whether you can actually get into the apartment of your choice.
Affordability and convenience factors typically go hand-in-hand when it comes to apartments. For instance, if you want to live in a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of downtown in a large city, you should be prepared to pay around twice the amount as opposed to a one-bedroom apartment in a surrounding suburb outside of the city. Of course, transportation factors into the equation; if you’re using mainly public, you might be able to afford a higher price tag since you’ll be avoiding vehicle costs. On the other hand, if you own a car, you may save quite a bit by venturing outside of the city in your search.
Visit the Neighborhood
Once you’ve discovered a few options online, be sure to visit the area before scheduling an appointment with the landlords in order to get a feel for the place. If the location is too far from you to take a tour, search online for a video tour of the place. If they don’t have one, request it or additional photos; trust me, promotional photos can be very misleading.
If you can visit, it helps to see firsthand the street you’ll be living on and any surrounding shops or stores, whether the area is quiet or congested and if they have any local features you’re looking for.
Also, be sure to talk to tenants, if you can, either while you’re visiting or online in forums. This is a great way to gain perspective of not just the apartment, but the area as well.
Schedule a Walkthrough
Once you schedule a walkthrough, be sure to start listing questions to bring with you.
During the walkthrough is also the time to be imaginative. Ask yourself if you can style this apartment to your liking, and if the layout and design appeals to you. Let your creative genius flow.
Sign the Lease
This seems like a no-brainer, but be sure to thoroughly read through your lease, and don’t be afraid to ask questions before signing. Also, if you see something you don’t like or didn’t know was a part of the deal, don’t be pressured into signing through guilt of taking up the landowner’s time; remember, you aren’t obligated to the landowner or the apartment until you’ve signed.