Whether it’s a one-bedroom or a townhouse, you need to prepare yourself for spending countless hours online looking for the perfect one to call home. You also need to prepare yourself to actually drive to these places because a lot of the time they do not look the same in person as they did online.

In order to save yourself time and headaches, make sure each listing has all the information you’ll need to be provided. The last thing you want is to find your dream apartment only to find out it is not pet-friendly. It would have been nice if that were on the listing, right?

As you begin your search, here are a few other things to keep in mind to help make this as stress-free as possible:

Pay Attention to Detail
The first thing that should be shown is how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and the square footage of each. This way you can sort of visualize your own layout to see if it’ll work for your needs. Also, research the neighborhood. Many landlords will tell you that the neighborhood is safe, but when it comes to that, it’s always best to check things out for yourself.

Photos
This is something that irks me A LOT. When a landlord is really looking to rent out a place, they will photoshop their photos until the place looks like Gracie Mansion. And then you show up, and it’s literally falling apart and you think you’re at the wrong listing.

Make sure that the photos are recent and that there is a lot of each room. Look for listings that show both interior and exterior shots. However, if a landlord says that he has numerous places for rent, the pictures shown may not be the actual place you’re going to be looking at.

Your Listing Should Enclose Policies
Every listing SHOULD enclose policies that could be a deal breaker for you. A perfect example would be places that exclude certain breeds of dogs, a maximum number of people to live in the unit, noise, and parking. Also, make sure to ask about the repair policy. If your landlord is nearby, chances are they’ll have someone who will come out immediately to fix any issues. However, if your landlord is out of state, it may take a bit longer to get something done.

TOTAL Monthly Cost
Make sure your landlord is completely upfront with your total monthly cost with EVERYTHING included. Here is a checklist for you to have on hand:

  • What is the monthly rent?
  • How much of a deposit is required, and is any of it refundable?
  • Are there any one-time fees?
  • Is there a pet fee or monthly charge?
  • Does the parking cost extra?
  • Who pays for utilities?