You need a place to stay. You open up your local guide to apartments and start flipping through the listings. Chances are, you're mostly looking at price. This is a natural starting point for many potential renters, but it hardly tells the whole story. If you're going to live in a place - even for as short as a year - you should be confident about the decision. There are three things that you should take into consideration when looking for a place to live.
The majority of the time, you're not going to find a really nice set of apartments in a really low class neighborhood. Still, it does happen and you need to be aware of the possibility. Regardless of gates, security, and a facade of beauty, a complex in the middle of a downtrodden area is not going to be a great place to live. On the other hand, a shady looking complex that happens to be in the middle of a wonderful area of town may very well be much safer than it appears. Location is key when determining where to live. In addition to safety concerns, of course, you'll also want to consider how close you are to work and your favorite shopping areas.
Obviously, you'll have to take the cost of rent into consideration. You should start by making a realistic budget. The worst thing you can do is get into a place you can't afford. Many a renter's finances have been thrown into array by relying on credit cards to make the rent each month. It's not fashionable to live within your means, but it will save you a great deal of headache in the future. Once you have your budget, start looking for apartments that fit easily within that budget. This will not only narrow your search, but it will make it easier for you to pass the application process.
Some apartments offer their residents everything - a gym, a pool, free cable, game room, etc. Others give you a place to live and not much more. Take amenities into consideration when looking for a place to live, but don't give too much weight to things that don't really matter. For instance, were you looking for a community billiards table when you started your search? Probably not, so it's not a good idea to make your choice based on such an off-the-wall factor. Look at these things as extras. If all things are equal between two choices, you can start factoring them in.