The Ultimate Guide to Apartment Hunting in Sacramento

Couple discussing apartment with agent.

The Ultimate Guide to Apartment Hunting in Sacramento

November 20, 2023 | By The Railyards

Apartment hunting in Sacramento? Hunting for a new place to live brings many considerations. You'll want to plan a budget, make a list of questions, think about if you want roommates, the list goes on. Although there are a lot of decisions that affect your search, there are some strategies and details to keep in mind when checking out places. Check them out below.

Plan your expenses

The first thing that you should keep in mind while apartment searching is how you'll budget rent for the apartment, but also the rest of your cost of living. Keep in mind other payments you'll have to make, including utilities, gas, parking, phone and internet bills, etc. A good rule to follow is the 50-20-30 rule. 50% of your budget is toward "needs" (rent, bills, groceries), 20% toward savings, and 30% towards "wants" (shopping, hobbies, travel).

If you need help gauging how much you need to budget, a great tool you can use is a rent affordability calculator that helps tell you how much you can spend on an apartment.

Consider the season

Some house hunters prefer moving in the spring or summer months when the weather is nicer. However, housing demand also tends to increase during this time, which may limit inventory. If you are flexible on when you can move into a new Sacramento apartment, you may find more available inventory.

Inspect the space yourself

If you're able to tour the apartment that you're interested in, be sure to check the space yourself and make sure that everything is up to your expectations. It's good to check all the cabinets, the water, outlets, and anywhere else where there could be issues hidden. Documenting any issues you see is vital so that you aren't to blame if something arises later on and your security deposit isn't compromised. If you are moving into a newly built apartment building, look to see if you can take a virtual tour of the space. Many new housing projects, such as The AJ in Sacramento, provide a 3D virtual tour of their units.

Bring a tape measure

Although it might seem odd, there's nothing worse than lugging your couch up a flight of stairs (or three) and discovering it won't fit into the front door. Bring a tape measure just to get a basic idea of how some things might fit into your new home so that you can better plan out your space.

Ask questions

Always ask as many questions as you can to the landlord or property manager. Here are some examples of  good questions to ask

  • Is there a garage/parking fee?
  • How do I request a maintenance order?
  • Are utilities included with rent?
  • Are there income requirements, and if so, do I need a guarantor?
  • Are modifications allowed? Will they affect my deposit?

The next question is one of the most-asked questions potential residents have when considering a new apartment, so it deserves its own point:

Are pets allowed?

Pet policies can vary widely from complex to complex, so it is always essential to make a pet inquiry before you plan a move.

At The AJ in the Sacramento Railyards, pets are welcome, but breed restrictions apply. The leasing office requires a meet-and-greet with your pet, a written-and-signed consent form, a statement from your veterinarian, and an additional security deposit before you move in a pet. Animals that assist persons with disabilities may not be subject to the same restrictions, so contact the leasing office with any questions about your pet before you move in.

Don't rush yourself

When you're touring an apartment, don't rush through the space. Take your time and really imagine yourself living there. Consider the amenities inside the unit as well as community-wide amenities. Is there a parking garage or bike accommodations to help you with transportation? Are there outdoor dining and lounge spaces to help you build neighborhood relationships?

Consider the surrounding neighborhood and nearby districts, as well. How walkable is your neighborhood? Will you be able to easily access public transportation and have access to dining and entertainment options? Do you have proximity to parks or green open spaces?

Don't forget to consider proximity to your favorite Sacramento bars, restaurants, and eateries, music venues, museums, or theaters. Choose a Sacramento apartment in a location that will help enhance all areas of your life, from work to play and everything in between.

Explore the amenities available at The AJ.

Check your cell reception

Sometimes, depending on where you are in your apartment building, cell reception and internet can get a little spotty. Make sure to go from room to room and check that your cell service stays strong throughout the different rooms in the unit. If you're a remote worker, gamer, or serious about your streaming services, internet and phone connectivity is going to be crucial to your satisfaction in your living space.

Consider roommates

If you haven't already, consider who you're going to be living with. Living with a roommate can often save you money on rent and utilities, and it can also make living in Sacramento a lot more fun. Being considerate, respectful, and communicative will help you and your roommates share a Sacramento apartment with ease.

Get renters insurance

Renters insurance can make a huge difference in your finances if anything happens and can be very affordable. Renters insurance can protect your personal belongings inside the apartment in case something happens, like a fire or break-in. Signing up is typically a simple process, but you'll have to estimate the value of your belongings to get your policy in place.

Explore the area

Before you move in or sign anything, drive or walk around the area to spot nice spots to eat, get a feel for how your commute might look, and assess the general area. Check it out on different days and at different times, too. Sometimes, the same area can look very different from a normal Tuesday to rush hour traffic on Friday.

The journey to finding your next home should be met with careful planning, strategic timing, and careful analysis. From managing your budget with a sensible framework to inspecting each prospective apartment and engaging in thorough discussions with property managers, each step you take is crucial in guiding you to the right decision. From the local community vibe to the practicalities of daily commutes. The process, though sometimes a little daunting, is an investment in your future comfort and happiness, especially in vibrant, amenity-rich neighborhoods like the Railyards district. As you embark on this adventure, remember that patience and diligence will lead you to not just any apartment but a place you can truly call home.

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