Before you go shopping for the dream apartment, you need to know what part of your fantasy you can afford and what very practical and real issues will affect your decision. Don’t bother reading the ads or wasting your time or the time of an agent until you’ve done the steps to determine just what a “dream apartment” means to you.
Keep a list
First, get a notebook and carry it with you for at least a week. Write down every characteristic you want in your apartment. Go ahead and get wild about it. Fireplace, pool, or sauna might be on the list.
Do you want pets or a pet free zone? Are you looking for someplace near to the airport or beach or near to work? Do you want a big kitchen or great southern exposure? Are you looking for covered parking or do you want only a garage?
Prioritize apartment must haves and wants
Now take that list and choose 5 “must have” items. For example, if you cannot do stairs then elevator access might be on your list. Or if you must take “Spot” with you, then pet friendly apartments are your only choices. Write the five top items of your choosing or need on an index card.
Now take the remaining items and simply number them in no particular order. For example, a big kitchen might be #1, close to work might be #2, no-smoking environment might be #3, cost less than $750 a month might be #4, etc. After all items are numbered, go through the list and ask yourself if item #1 is more or less important than item 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and so forth. Eventually you’ll find the top ten items of importance in your dream apartment. Make a listing of the top ten in ranked order and if you wish, do the same with any remaining items.
With a list of your absolute “must haves” and “wants” in hand, you’re now ready to browse the ads, scan the neighborhoods or call that agent to find your dream apartment.