Features to Look For When Browsing Apartment Listings

The most prevalent and convenient method for searching for a new home is online apartment listings. The right home for you can be a house, an apartment or a townhouse. Apartment listing websites with a large following will have filters that can allow you to narrow down your results. 

Online apartment listings provide many benefits and let you learn about rentals without having to drive around the town looking for them. However, this does not mean that listings are secure and simple. Thus, it is crucial to learn about how you can avoid the typical pitfalls and scams that potential renters fall for. Learning about the facilities within the rental property as well as the fees and other features must also be taken into consideration. 

When you begin the application process for a rental, understanding how to negotiate with a landlord for better terms for your living situation is important. Learning about the features of a rental agreement that you can negotiate can be helpful as well. A good negotiation can help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars.

How to Avoid Online Scams When Apartment Hunting

When you start looking for an apartment on the internet, making a personal checklist of reputable online listings so you can avoid typical scams and pitfalls. By compiling as much information as possible about a rental property and taking into consideration any red flags, you will find a suitable rental for yourself. 

  • Consider who owns or manages the rental property. While you are searching through an online apartment listing, the information on the owner of the unit or the agency or broker that oversees the facility should be provided within the listing.
  • If a negotiation does not include a rental agreement contract, do not agree to the property. Renting without a rental agreement contract presents a large risk for you as the renter. If you do not have a rental agreement contract for a space you are renting, then you do not have a legal right to live within the property. That means that if you run into legal issues, you may be legally kicked out.
    Another reason it is a risk is that you will not have the rights that several state and local laws provide. These laws can include keeping a landlord from entering your property without prior notice as well as fair housing laws. When you do have a rental agreement contract, it should include the fees, any exceptions, negotiations, rules and other details. 
  • You must not transfer money. The most typical online rental scams will make potential renters transfer money for property that does exist or the scammer does not truly own. For instance, if you speak to a landlord telling you to submit your deposit for rent for the first month by mail, Paypal or Western Union, then it is a scam.

If you are searching through rental properties find discounts, rental amount, move-in promotion or anything about the listing that seems too good to be true, it is perhaps just that.

Factors to Look at When You Are Browsing For Apartments

There are many features, fees and other factors that would be in your best interest to look into while apartment hunting. These factors can allow you to filter your results to the best options available and then narrow it down to a rental property you can call home. 


The facilities at a rental unit will vary depending on the unit or property. These features can also change your expectations for the price of a rental space within a certain community. The overall satisfaction of your home. 

Thus, it is vital to think about the type of features you want at your rental unit before starting your apartment hunt. Make a list of what you want in terms of features for your ideal rental unit. Apartment listings can advertise many features like:

  • Central air conditioning or window air conditioning.
  • Additional storage space
  • Free home services, such as cable and internet
  • Laundry amenities that are within the rental unit or the property 
  • Outdoor space, like a patio or balcony.
  • Refurbished appliances and/or units
  • A fitness center or community swimming pool
  • A clubhouse or community center.

Thinking about the amount of space you need, the number of rooms you want as well as the bathrooms is very important while apartment hunting. 


No matter the amount, fees can add up and add to the total amount that you must pay each month on the rental unit or property. It is vital to understand what the typical fees that are included in a rental agreement contract such as:

  • The fee for the application
  • Pet security deposit
  • Pet rent for the month
  • Security deposit
  • Rental amount
  • Any extra fees for extra services or access garage space.

Other Features

There are other features that you should think about aside from the features and dues. Alongside the features that rental units have and the cost you must pay, you should find the answers to the following questions:

  • Are pets allowed in the rental property? If they are, is their weight, breed or other factors restricted?
  • Is the rental space in a safe area?
  • Is the rental property in a good location like near your school or location of employment?
  • What are the utilities included in your rent if there are any?
  • Is there enough parking? Is it assigned parking or first-come, first-serve?
  • Are there security cameras on the property or any other kind of security placed?
  • What is the average rent increase? Ask about the rental prices within the previous three years.

Negotiating a Rental Agreement

If your rental history looks good, are willing to sign a lease for an extended period of time or pay some rent in advance, try negotiating your rental agreement contract. When you have successful negotiation of the rental agreement, then you can most likely save money on your lease or make exceptions. For instance, one exception can be bringing a pet. 

If there are several units on a property or the property has not had tenants is a while, then the landlord or agency may be more susceptible to your suggestions. Here is where having a good rental history can prove beneficial. The willingness to pay more upfront can also prove useful.