1. Come prepared.
• Bring all necessary paperwork.
• Include bank statements and a letter of employment or pay stubs to show prospective landlords.
• Provide a reference letter from a previous landlord, and make sure it includes that you made timely payments and took proper care of the residence.
2. Know what you want -- or at least have an idea.
• Be specific about what you're looking for.
• Come up with a list of must-haves and include details (e.g., central air conditioning, laundry hookup, etc)
• Prioritize locations and consider how much time it will take for you to commute to work and to the places that you frequent on weekends.
• Consider how much it will cost to travel (i.e. cost of gas or public transportation).
3. Bring along the roommate.
• Have a candid and communicative relationship with your roommate.
• Come up with a consolidated list of must-haves.
• Make sure you both understand the terms of the lease.
• Discuss finances and the splitting of any and all bills
4. Use a broker – finding a good home is like finding a needle in a haystack.
• Brokers have specialized knowledge of the most exclusive apartments and of the best available.
• Brokers pre-screen homes, saving you time; this eliminates wasting energy on residences that don't meet your criteria or that you won't like.
• Brokers can find homes that are more value for your money.
5. Visit properties.
• Look at as many properties as it takes.
• Don't visit more than four in one day or they will begin to blend together.
• Bring along your list of must-haves as a kind of checklist.
• Make sure to do a final walk-through.
6. Seal the deal.
• Have your finances in order.
• Examine your lease in detail, don't just sign it; bring it home and take the necessary time to understand your lease.
• Find out what cosmetic changes can and cannot be made to the apartment.
• Be financially prepared
By: AOL Real Estate Editors
1. Come prepared.