Apartment hunting isn't always a matter of just telling a broker what you want in an apartment and which neighborhoods or areas you would consider. Sometimes, apartment hunters find certain buildings particularly inviting, and they want to know if there's a way they can live in those buildings.
If you check out a potential neighborhood and come across a building or two that interests you, there are a number of ways you can find out if an apartment is available -- even if you don't know anyone who currently lives there.
- Look for a leasing office. Some apartment buildings have a leasing office on the premises. It may be a separate structure or it could be located on the ground floor of one of the buildings in the complex. The people who work in the leasing office will give you all the information you need about renting in that building.
- Look for a sign at the entrance to the building. Very often, apartment buildings -- especially large complexes -- have a "leasing information" sign. The sign will usually include a number of a leasing agent or landlord to call for more information.
- Ask the doorman. If the building has a doorman, ask him whom you can call to find out about renting an apartment in the building. While you're at it, it doesn't hurt also to ask if he knows about any vacancies.
- Ask tenants. As you see tenants come and go, politely ask one or two about how you can rent there. The tenant may tell you the name of the landlord or recommend a broker who helped get the tenant the apartment.
- Ask your broker. If you use a broker, mention any specific apartment buildings you're interested in renting and ask if she knows of any listings or how you go about renting in those buildings.
- Get a building's address and name, if available. Every building has an address, and some also have names, such as "The Thomas Jefferson" or "Meadowbrook Apartments." Then, look for this information when browsing online and print "for rent" ads. In addition to being able to search by street address, some Web sites let you search by a building's name, if you know it. For example, Apartments.com has a "Property Name" tab near the search box. Just click this tab to search by name (and city or ZIP code).
- If you learn that your favorite building is a condo or coop building, don't despair. See if you can post a "looking to rent" notice or give it to the doorman, or if there's a bulletin board where someone has posted they're looking to rent out their condo or coop.
- If you find out that there are no vacancies in a building, ask if you can have your name added to a waiting list.
- You can get more information about your favorite buildings by searching for their address or name online. You may discover that the building has its own Web site or you might find other helpful information about the building, such as reviews from current or former tenants.