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1 Research your neighborhood.

Look at everything from the safety rates of your neighborhood to your landlord themselves. Use free search features on rental websites to help you with the process.

2 Give yourself time.

Finding an apartment can take its toll quickly, but don’t rush into a living space simply because it is available. Unless you feel completely comfortable in a living space, it’s better to wait out the search.

3 Set up a clear budget for yourself.

Before beginning your apartment search, know exactly what you can afford to pay for rent up front. Factor in utilities and amenities to your budget.

5 Don’t sign your name blindly.

Read your lease once (or three times). Know exactly what you are agreeing to, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s in your best interest to have a detailed understanding of your agreement.

4 Get to know your landlord.

Life will become much easier if you keep the communication lines open. Upon your arrival, introduce yourself, and make sure you have his contact information ready and handy in case you need to reach them.

6 Get renters insurance.

At the time, it doesn’t seem necessary, but it’s the smart thing to do. Renters insurance is generally affordable and can cover a great amount that your landlords insurance typically won’t.

7 Keep your security deposit in mind.

Take photographs when you first move in, and continue to document any and all changes that you make while living there.

8 Be open-minded to different living situations.

If you’re looking for an apartment, take the time to look at townhouses and single-family homes, too.