Finding a place to live is a big decision. For most apartments, you’re signing a lease of at least a year, so you’re really committing to your new residence. You have an agreement that you cannot move out without paying large fees or messing up your credit or something similarly bad. So, when looking for an apartment, you want to make sure it’s the best place for you to live. For many people, they’re only concerned about the size and how much of a commute they’d have, but there are many other considerations that should go into choosing an apartment if you want to be happy in your new home.

Neighborhood

First and foremost, no matter how short of a commute you have, you want to be mindful of the neighborhood surrounding your apartment. Make sure you feel safe in the neighborhood and you’re comfortable with the crime rate. Do your own research on the statistics of crimes in the neighborhood and see what locals have to say. Take time to walk around the area on your own to get a feel of whether or not you’d like to live there and what kind of restaurants or businesses are close to the apartment. Choose a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle; if you like to go out to eat, find an apartment near good restaurants. If you like spending time outside, make sure there’s a park nearby.

Rules

Once you tour the apartment, make sure you know what the rules of the complex or individual home are. You don’t want to sign a lease without knowing whether or not you can bring your pet. Some complexes are incredibly strict about how often you have guests, the level of noise, and decorating apartment surfaces. Consider what kind of living environment you’d like, then make sure the apartment doesn’t go against any of your necessities.

Roommate

If you’re going to be living with a roommate, it’s important that you choose carefully, if you don’t already have one. Make sure the apartment is ideal for both of you, or you risk having your roommate move out early and leaving you with covering the rent. If you’re moving in with a significant other, think about whether or not you’ll risk breaking up and breaking the lease. When finding a new roommate, choose someone you know you can live with and has a similar schedule and organization habits to your own.

Facilities/Amenities

Does the apartment have everything you need? Is having a gym in an apartment complex a must for you? If you don’t have laundry machines, are you okay with going to a laundromat once a week? Consider what amenities you want to have in the apartment and which ones you can do without. Learn as much as you can about the facilities connected to or around the apartment so you can make an informed decision.

Landlord

Finally, you want to have a landlord you trust and like. Make sure you meet your landlord (many try to avoid having one-on-one meetings with possible tenants because they’re too busy or want to get the apartment filled as quickly as possible) before signing any papers. Go to your meeting prepared with plenty of questions. Know how maintenance requests are handled and even consider asking current residents how quickly issues are resolved in the apartment complex.